Some of the best food in Manhattan, never, ever hits the tables for customers front of house. While working hard in Italian Kitchens, Latin cooks bring a few ingredient from home, peppers, juices, herbs and more to spice up pasta, making it more to their liking, their palates for a quick meal. Front of house gets Spaghetti, back of house gets pasta with Garlic and Morita (a smoke-dried Jalapeño.)
I first heard this story in New York City at a time when my food world was expanding rapidly. I had just started work at a culinary TV network and was literally surrounded night and day by food inspirations. These two factors made me Food Curious and I began to experiment. Eating and cooking anything that crossed my culinary path.
In later years, I began to really travel, see the world. No matter where I am, I drag my Husband Bello, into local grocery stores and markets. I guess it’s fare trade for my patience as he stops walking every few minutes to take photos. I never mind, he’s happiest exploring and photographing the world. He never minds, I’m happiest exploring and tasting the world. I want to try it all, find out where the food comes from, how it’s prepared.
There is no better way to understand where you are and who you are surrounded by then to eat like a local. Visit a local grocery, market or a fishing hub and see how a community thinks, harvests, trades and basically lives with food. Getting out of your comfort zone and trying local cuisine is one of life’s true adventures. Although, I will say I drew the line in Cambodia at the Fried Tarantula Bucket…
Fast forward to present day and with some travel under my belt and years of practice in the kitchen, I’ll bring together ingredients that have no reasons to be there, other than my discovery and fascination of them. Something like Roasted Poblano Risotto which is my current obsession and fun food project. Something I’ll blog about tomorrow.