Rising Star Latino Chefs at Culinary Institute of America

Rising Star Latino Chefs at Culinary Institute of AmericaThis is the first installment in our special series that takes you to the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York.  If you’ve ever had a dream of a Culinary Career or simply want to know what it takes to study at the CIA, here’s your chance to find out more.

Each installment, we’ll visit with a rising star Latino Student Chef and be treated to a delicious recipe from the CIA!

Located just under two hours away from New York City, the Culinary Institute of America/Hyde Park Campus features forty-one professional kitchens and bake shops, five award-winning student-staffed restaurants, and plays a vital role in shaping its students’ culinary careers.

Here, you’ll find aspiring chefs from all over the world including Student Chef Elvira Alzaquieri who shares some of her thoughts about cooking, family, and her culinary future.

Rising Star Latino Chefs at Culinary Institute of America-Elvira AlzaquieriMamiverse Food:  Why did you decide to study at the CIA?
Alzaquieri:  Because I knew it was one of the best schools you could possibly attend and I wanted to get a well-rounded feel of everything in the culinary field I could possibly get.

Mamiverse Food:  Your thoughts on more Latina Chefs?
Alzaquieri:  I think there should be more because I think it goes to show that Latinas have the chance to be out there and be just as good as the men.

Mamiverse Food:  If there was one thing you could tell a home cook to do different what would you tell them?
Alzaquieri: I would tell them to have everything set mise en place* so that everything can go quickly because when people cook at home they say, “Oh, I have to get this” and they run back here and “I have to get this” and run back the other way.

*Mamiverse Food Editor’s Note
Mise en Place • Having all ingredients and items at the ready before you start to cook.  Flea market/tag sale mismatched teacups and small, re-purposed glass jars work very well as ingredient containers and are economical to use.

Read Related: 2013 Rising Star Chef: Beef Salpicón Tostadas

Find out why the CIA/Hyde Park is sometimes called Hogwarts on the Hudson. Learn about their El Sueño Initiative, and how you can attend CIA Boot Camp.

Vegetarian Comfort Food • Courtesy of The Culinary Institute of America

The chefs at The Culinary Institute of America suggest a delicious and healthy take on a classic comfort food with Beans Bourguignon. Following a vegetarian diet even one or two days a week is a great way to increase consumption of vegetables, healthy fats and proteins, and fiber. 

The name bourguignon comes from the region in France where the wine is from and the original dish was made with a very good Burgundy,” says CIA Chef Katherine Polenz. “When you make bourguignon either with beans or beef, use good wine so you can enjoy the rest of the bottle with the meal.

For Beans Bourguignon, the beans are cooked slowly in red wine, much like the rich Beef Bourguignon originally from France.

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Rising Star Latino Chefs at Culinary Institute of America-Bean BourguignonBEANS BOURGUIGNON
Makes: 4 portions

2 TBSP butter or margarine
2 oz smoked tempeh (optional)
2 TBSP all-purpose flour
1 TBSP olive oil
3 shallots, diced
4 carrots, peeled, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
12 oz cremini mushrooms, quartered
1 sprig thyme
1 sprig rosemary
1 bay leaf
1 cup crushed tomatoes
½ cup vegetable broth
1 cup dry red wine
3 cups kidney beans, cooked
Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. In a small bowl, combine the butter and flour with a fork, mixing until the two are incorporated. Set aside.

  2. In a large sauté pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the tempeh, if using, and sauté for about five minutes. Add the shallots, carrots, and garlic, and cook until the shallots are translucent, about 3–4 minutes.

  3. Add the mushrooms and continue to cook until they start to become tender, about 4–5 minutes more.

  4. Stir in the thyme, rosemary, bay leaf, tomatoes, broth, and half of the wine. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 20–25 minutes.

  5. Add the rest of the wine, beans, salt, and pepper. Continue to simmer until good flavor develops, about 10–15 minutes more. Remove and discard the herbs and bay leaf.

  6. Add the butter and flour mixture to the pan and allow the liquid to thicken. Remove from heat and serve.

Nutritional Information per 8-ounce serving: Calories: 190, Protein: 8 g, Carbohydrates: 25 g, Fiber: 6 g, Total Fat: 4.5 g, Saturated Fat: 2 g, Sodium: 190 mg

Vegetarian Cooking at Home with The Culinary Institute of AmericaThis recipe is from Chef Katherine Polenz’s new book, Vegetarian Cooking at Home with The Culinary Institute of America (Wiley, 2012) and is available for purchase here.

Mario Bosquez

Learn more about Mario Bosquez.

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