James Beard Awards 2018 – Puerto Rican Edition

October 25, 2017
In 2012, Puerto Rican chefs on the island became eligible to compete in the James Beard Awards. They are in the “Best Chef South” category competing with Louisiana, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Arkansas. Chef and colleague Ibrahim Sanz reached out to me to ask if I would vote for him in the 2018 James Beard awards. Of course!
The winner of 2017 Best Chef South was beloved Santurce chef, Jose Enrique. Enrique has been extremely indispensable in the hurricane Maria relief efforts in regards to assisting fellow chef, Jose Andres in feeding millions of people on the island via funds from Andres’ organization, World Central Kitchen. A lot of the service workers there are having to flee the island because they can’t work. But, some of the restaurant and bars are open for business during this time as a place for community to gather. For some reason I got a hair up my tuchus and decided to vote for other Puerto Ricans doing extraordinary things in the food and beverage industry. I’d be so incredibly grateful to you if you could also take a moment of your time and vote for them.
Click here to vote >> James Beard 2018
Outstanding Baker | Diego Martin-Pérez, Levee Baking Co., New Orleans, Louisiana
Outstanding Bar Program | La Factoria, Old San Juan, Puerto Rico
Best Chef Mid-Atlantic | Ibrahim Sanz, Haven Restaurant in Edgewater, New Jersey
Best Chefs New York City | Manolo Lopez, Mofongo, NYC, NY
America’s Classics | La Bombonera, San Juan, Puerto Rico
They poured four-years and endless money into revamping La Bombonera, making the 102-year-old restaurant and bakery into a modern dream with marble countertops and penny subway tiles.

“From Puerto Rico: Comfort In A Bowl Of Corn” for SF Chronicle

September 12, 2017
Working with Paolo Lucchesi has been awesome, he’s a dream editor. The Chronicle allowed me to write another story for them and this time it was about a recipe I had been developing for a few years. It’s something I came up with on a whim, but turned out to represent me pretty well: A blend of traditional Puerto Rican ingredients with seasonal Northern California produce. When Carrie Sullivan asked if I’d like to do a demo at the CUESA chef demo tent at the SF Ferry Building, I chose the shrimp and funche recipe. Get the recipe by clicking on the photo.

First article in the SF Chronicle Why aren’t there more Puerto Rican restaurants in the Bay Area?

August 6, 2017

Chicharrones de pollo at Parada 22 in the Haight. Photo: Carlos Avila Gonzalez

I had been pitching the idea around for a year, why aren’t there more Puerto Rican restaurants in the Bay Area? I pitched it to several publications and if I wasn’t met with radio silence, it was a kind rejection. On a whim, I decided to pitch to the SF Chronicle. In December 2016, they asked if I could contribute a little something to their holiday food traditions piece. Based on that alone, it gave me the balls to approach them. And it paid off. They were totally into the idea and after some back and forth editing between myself and Paolo, the idea was in print June 2017. It allowed me to reach out to the Puerto Ricans who I admire in the food industry. Those making a real change and doing things no one else is doing. I’m grateful that Manolo, Paxx and Alicia gave me the time of day because they’re all so damn busy. They’re all so damn talented. READ IT!


February 4, 2017
Don’t forget to come and check out my market to table demo at the SF Ferry Building, with the help of CUESA. rice and beans

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 2, 2017 –12:00PM TO 12:45PM

Stop by the CUESA Classroom for a cooking demo featuring the seasonal bounty of the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market.

EatGordaEat is the name of Illyanna Maisonet’s self-published Puerto Rican cookbook and her popups. Illyanna grew up in the Sacramento Delta, surrounded by an abundance of produce that grew wild in her backyard.

When Illyanna started documenting her grandmother’s cooking, she thought she was just putting her family’s recipes in writing for the first time. Little did she realize that the series of recipes she’d collected would turn into a little cookbook and would serve as a time capsule for a diminishing craft; cocina criolla (country cooking). Since then, she has developed recipes for Steve Sando of Rancho Gordo, been featured as a writer for Paste and Lucky Peach Magazine, and been invited as a guest speaker for La Cocina’s Voices from the Kitchen. She is currently working on a cookbook with her editor, Lesley Tellez, writer of acclaimed cookbook Eat Mexico.

All demos take place in the CUESA Classroom (under the white tents in front of the Ferry Building) and are free to the public, with recipes and samples for all.

SF Chronicle asks bay area cooks about holiday traditions

January 8, 2017
Many thanks to Jonathan Kauffman of the SF Chronicle for reaching out to me inquiring if I’d like to participate in their edition of bay area cooks, chefs and restauranteurs family holiday traditions. Quite a diverse addition to the holidays, don’t you think? sf-chronicle-eat-gorda-eat