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The Latin Flavor Exploration Chef Interview Series is a part of a larger initiative, Sabor In America — created by Symrise's Marketing and Consumer Insights team — which focuses on the impact of Latinos and Latino culture on mainstream America. See what each of the six chefs we interviewed had to say and click their respective links to learn even more!
Rodolfo Cuadros, Carnivale
Jesus Delgado, Tanta
Adolfo Garcia, La Boca; A Mano; Gusto
Tim Hockett, Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises
Alejandro Morgan, Lolinda
Roberto Santibañez, La Botaneria; Fonda
Latin Flavor Exploration
Chef Cuadros earned a culinary degree from Johnson and
Wales and went on to delight diners at restaurants globally.
He’s an expert in the nuances and ingredients of Latin
American cuisine which he adapts to create unique, Pan
Latin dishes at Carnivale.
What are some of the ingredients or dishes you wish
were available here in the states?
“…Macha, which is traditional in Chile. It is similar to clam
but macha tend to be a little bigger than surf clams. Then
there’s… ciampa (found in Chile and Argentina) that grows
in woody areas close to shores. It’s a mix between a morel
and a black trumpet with earthy tones and a woody flavor.
It grows to a very large size too.
Click here to read Rodolfo's full interview.
Jesus Delgado… maintains a simple and traditional food
philosophy, letting the flavors of his ingredients shine.
Collaborating with well-known South American Chef
Gastón Acurio, Delgado focuses on iconic Peruvian
flavors, particularly in ceviche and other seafood-centric
plates, created with fresh fish delivered daily. Delgado also
crafts lamb, beef, and poultry dishes which highlight the
multiculturalism and biodiversity of his native country.
Have you noticed any original Latino ingredients or
flavors popping up in mainstream U.S. cuisine?
“Well, it’s clear that Latino type grains such as
quinoa/kiwicha have caught on as well. We serve a quinoa
polenta with our braised lamb specialty at Tanta that is
Click here to read Jesus' full interview.
Chef Adolfo has brought a new level to traditional Creole
specialties by imparting them with a creative Latino touch
that relies on his Panamanian heritage. La Boca, a Mano,
and Gusto are favorite dining places for locals who have a
myriad of excellent restaurants to choose from, but who
return to Adolfo’s haunts over and over again.
How do you believe Latinos are influencing the
American food scene today?
“The diversity and new choices that the Latino population
have brought to the American table is undeniable. Salsas
from Mexico are probably the best and most evident
example. The Caribbean brought in the plantains and
yucca – which we see more and more in mainstream
Click here to read Adolfo's full interview.
Tim Hockett drives the culinary creations of 13 restaurants,
including Nacional 27 and Tallboy Taco, both known for
their Latino menu items. The challenges of Tim’s early
college basketball career impacted his oversight of LEYE
kitchens, which he sees linked by their “addictive intensity
and adrenaline rush that it takes to do the job right.”
How did you become a specialist in Latino cuisine
given your heritage is not Latino?
“…Growing up in the 80s, the Latino culture was only
slightly familiar with reference to typical refried beans,
enchiladas, and Mexican restaurants. I have a passion for
flavor and for freshness – for taking something authentic
and making it bold and better, reflecting the local
ingredients and the surrounding culture.”
Click here to read Tim's full interview.
Alejandro is the Executive Chef at Lolinda, an Argentinean
inspired steakhouse. In his rooftop restaurant, Chef
Morgan and his staff offer Costa Rican favorites and
popular choices from other Latin American countries – all
with a modern flair, but deliciously authentic.
Can you tell us about some of the ingredients and
foods from your youth in Costa Rica?
“In Latin America in general, we are accustomed to using
tropical ingredients and spices like achiote and annatto.
We don’t feature rice and beans much but we translate its
flavors into other things like a bean stew. It’s the same with
plantains. We try to offer what is comfortable eating for
Latinos, what they would be accustomed to eating in their
Click here to read Alejandro's full interview.
Roberto Santibañez is the chef and owner of two NYC
restaurants, La Botaneria and Fonda. The teacher, author,
and award winning chef was raised in Mexico City and
trained in Paris at the renowned Le Cordon Bleu culinary
school... Zagat has cited his expertise as living up to the
“gold standard for upscale Mexican dining.”
How does your heritage influence your cuisine?
I was born and raised in Mexico City and grew up in a
family of great cooks. I never wanted to do anything else
but cook and I was sent to culinary school when I finished
college. I went to France and studied at Le Cordon Bleu
and then lived in Paris for a little while and went on to
England, but always I missed my flavors. So I went back to
Mexico and that’s all I did was focus on those flavors.
Click here to read Roberto's full interview.
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