Ema Quevedo is Chef and Consultant for Unilever Kitchens and she brings to the table, so to speak, not only intensive training in the culinary arts but also a deep love for Latino cuisine, in particular Tex-Mex. Ema sat down with Mamiverse to talk about her love of cooking and how her family’s South Texas roots add depth and flavor to her dishes. Oh, and she also confesses to her own Latino food guilty pleasure.
Mamiverse: What is your earliest memory of cooking and how has influenced you professional career?
Quevedo: I was about 5 years old and I vividly remember being in the kitchen with my mom and aunt while my mom was cooking a pot of beans and she let me stir the pot as I stood on a little step stool. I remember feeling so proud and grown up as I was stirring those beans because I was near the stove, which was always a major NO-NO without adult supervision.
Mamiverse: What is the one ingredient you cannot do without in your kitchen and why?
Quevedo: I am my mother’s daughter and I always have to have garlic in my kitchen. I remember my mom using it in her daily cooking and for almost every meal. Also, KNORR Chicken Bouillon which is definitely a flavorful way to enhance any Latin-inspired dish. All you have to do is sprinkle it to your favorite dish, and listo!
Mamiverse: What do you think is the most under-appreciated Latino ingredient in mainstream cooking and why should we use it more?
Ema Quevedo: I wish that epazote, which is an herb used in Mexican and Caribbean cooking, was more readily available in U.S. stores and showcased more in Latin cooking. This precious herb tastes like a mix between fennel and tarragon and can kick the flavor of any dish up a notch. Growing up, my mom would put a couple of sprigs while cooking a pot of black beans; she would also use the leaves to flavor tamales, enchiladas and mole. I can always pick up the smell a mile away and it brings back a flood of great memories!
Read Related: Chefs that Heat Up San Antonio
Mamiverse: What is your favorite last-minute dish to put together?
Quevedo: Chicken Flautas hands down! It is comfort food, it’s super quick to fix and it’s one of the meals my mom cooks for me when I go home for a visit. You can cut up the flautas into bite-sized pieces to make them appetizers for any event and is easy to make!
Mamiverse: What is one technique you think the Latino home cook should master?
Quevedo: I feel that every Latin home cook should know how to properly use and care for a knife. The use of a good knife can help preserve food flavors, facilitate cooking process and even avoid a physical injury. Also, the proper knife-sharpening tools are important to maintain our knives in “top chef” form.
Mamiverse: Which is your Latino food guilty pleasure?
Quevedo: Churros filled with dulce de leche and hot chocolate. It’s heaven on a plate served with a glass of liquid goodness! Super rich, but then it is a guilty pleasure.
Mamiverse: As a recipe tester and designer what are the elements of a good Latino-inspired recipe?
Quevedo: The art of cooking is all about making existing recipes your own and not having to reinvent the wheel. As Chef and Consultant for Unilever Kitchens, I test a wide array of ingredients to recreate traditional meals that my mom cooked for my family but in a faster manner and without sacrificing flavors. As a food expert for Vivemejor.com, my goal is the same. I aim to help Latin moms and any home cooks to recreate in their kitchens those family recipes that have been passed down from generations.
Courtesy of Vivemejor.com.
Learn more about Chef Ema Quevedo.