FOOD AS FREEDOM…
I truly believe our first taste of freedom was exactly that- a taste. When we first decided we no longer wanted those strained peas our moms were forcing us to eat- we decided. Isn’t that what freedom is all about? Even before we were able to venture out by ourselves we were given the freedom to choose –“What do you want for dinner?” Whether it was at a restaurant, the supermarket or picking what was for supper our first taste of freedom was in Food.
As an American Latino, I feel proud to have the freedom to indulge in such a rich and diverse culinary arenas taking place around the country today. Chefs are reaching not only for ingredients normally found in the kitchens of our Abuelitas but are borrowing tried and true techniques and are fusing them with other ingredients and techniques from around the globe. This amalgam of tastes and flavors has been called many things, Nuevo Latino, Fusion Latino, Latino Moderno and the list goes on and on but if there is one thing you can call it is Delicioso!
Many credit chefs such as Douglas Rodriguez, a master chef, who has been called the godfather of Nuevo Latino cuisine. His restaurants have put Latin dining in the forefront of hip and trendy in cities such as Miami, New York, Philadelphia and Arizona he has even reached into the Caribbean and has opened an outpost of his fusion cuisine in the island of Puerto Rico.
There is also a revolution of sorts and it all started with a truck, The Kogi Truck to be exact. Roy Choi a former law student who took his passion for cooking and created a fusion of Mexican tacos and Korean Beef and has created a revolution in the culinary world. Each day hundreds of people follow his Tweets (Twitter feeds) to know where his next stop will be. With a fusion of beef cooked with over 21 spices including such ingredients such as the Kiwi, Chilies, Garlic, Kimchi and Onions and wrapping it all in the convenience of a tortilla, Choi has created not only a delicious and quick meal but given the fact that he is in a mobile truck he can sell it economically and have a nomadic following. He has been given numerous awards including Chef of the Year by Food & Wine and many chefs are following in his footsteps and opening food trucks all over the nation.
I am curious to see where the next fusion or food revolution takes us. Unlike certain drifts by some chefs into the world of molecular gastronomy, started by Chef Ferran Adria of El Bulli in Spain, I believe Latino ingredients and techniques have become a staple in the American society. No longer is the Plantain or Yucca something foreign; it has become something that has been embraced by all cultures. We are no longer bound to only one flavor when we have kaleidoscope of ingredients ready to tantalize our palates.
John Capellan is the owner of www.sugarsaltlime.com a company devoted to bringing “Products for a gourmet lifestyle” to the masses as well as co-owner of www.tisojewelrydesigns.com “Enhancing your inner Beauty” has owned managed and consulted for Retail, Customer Service and the Restaurant Industry. Has a passion for cooking, the business world and entertaining for family and friends.
written by Steven Roth, June 05, 2011