Culture

Here Are 25 Latino Chefs Who Are Cooking Amazing Food Across The U.S.

Food is the thing that brings people together. Whether or not you agree with someone’s politics or world view, you can usually agree with them on one thing: That food is delicious, and eating delicious food will make all of us happy. And for anyone that’s been living under a rock, you should probably know that Latin food has become increasingly popular in the U.S., whether or not you are Latinx yourself. Whether it’s Cuban food, Mexican food, Peruvian food, and so much more, there are restaurants opening up all across the country that make me proud to be Latina.

And where there’s a great Latin food restaurant, there is a phenomenal Latinx chef behind it. And in fact, some Latinx chefs have more than one while others are actually teaching and spreading our love of Latin food in other ways (such as through the writing of cookbooks or their work on television). From Food Network favorite Aarón Sánchez to PBD darling Pati Jinich, here are the 25 best latinx chefs cooking up and serving great food all across the U.S. Get ready to roll up your sleeves and dig into all of that incredible sabor!

1. José Andrés

CREDIT: PHOTO: chefjoseandres/Instagram

Okay, so José Andrés is technically from Spain and began his career there, but the Spanish-American chef is a great philanthropist (he helped feed hundreds in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria) with restaurants in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Florida, and Puerto Rico. He offers creative small plates dining, and has been known for his humanitarian work long before the Hurricane Maria disaster last year.

2. Maricel Presilla

CREDIT: PHOTO: maricelpresilla7/Instagram

Maricel Presilla has quite the resume: She was the first Latin American woman to be invited as a guest chef at the White House, has a James Beard Foundation Award from 2012, and wrote the amazing book Gran Cocina Latina: The Food of Latin America (published in 2013, and also won a Janes Beard Foundation Award). Beyond that, she is the chef and co-owner behind Cucharamama and other restaurants in Hoboken, New Jersey, along with Ultramarinos, her Latin American marketplace, bakery and chocolate shop.

3. Aarón Sánchez

CREDIT: PHOTO: chef_aaronsanchez/Instagram

Aarón Sánchez is an American chef and television personality who can often be seen as a co-star and judge on Food Network’s Chopped, as the host of Cooking Channel’s Taco Trip, and he has appeared on Iron Chef America and as a contestant on The Next Iron Chef. He’s also a judge on Masterchef as of 2017. Oh, and did I mention that he has restaurants all over the U.S., including Johnny Sánchez, which has locations in New Orleans and Baltimore. 

4. Lorena Garcia

CREDIT: PHOTO: cheflorena/Instagram

Lorena Garcia is a Venezuelan chef who has several restaurants and is now famous thanks to her multiple television shows and appearances. She’s been on Top Chef Masters, has a cookbook, and a line of kitchenware… She is also seriously making strides in her life to help end the obesity epidemic in the U.S.

5. Jose Garces

CREDIT: PHOTO: chefjosegarces/Instagram

Jose Garces, an Ecuadorian-American chef, is a restaurant owner and is probably best known for being an Iron Chef, an honor he earned in 2009 and debuted in 2010. His restaurants include eight in Philadelphia, including Amada, Rosa Blanca, Volver, and more. He also owns restaurants in Atlantic City, Scottsdale, Arizona, California, and more. He was named Best Chef by James Beard Foundation. 

6. Marcela Valladolid

CREDIT: PHOTO: chefmarcela/Instagram

You’ve probably seen Marcela Valladolid’s cookbooks, amazing Instagram, or as one of the co-hosts on Food Network’s The Kitchen (though she left the show in October 2017). She’s worked in many capacities, including as an editor and recipe stylist at Bon Appétit, a judge on Food Network’s Best Baker in America, the CBS reality show The American Baking Competition, and more.

7. Angelo Sosa

CREDIT: PHOTO: chefangelososa/Instagram

The Dominican-Italian chef first made national headlines when he appeared on Top Chef, but his career has gone on to great heights since then. He is currently the owner of Añejo Tequileria in New York City, a restaurant that serves unique tequilas and takes on traditional Mexican food. He also released a cookbook with Angie Martinez titled Healthy Latin Eating: Our Favorite Family Recipes Remixed.

8. Ingrid Hoffmann

CREDIT: PHOTO: ingridhoffmannofficial/Instagram

Ingrid Hoffman is a Colombian-American chef, restauranteur, and television personality who hosts Food Network’s Simply Delicious and the Spanish-language Delicious on Galavisión. She’s also got several cookbooks out on Latin cooking, including Simply Delicioso: A Collection of Everyday Recipes with a Latin Twist. 

9. Roberto Santibañez

CREDIT: PHOTO: fondanyc/Instagram

The acclaimed Mexican chef has brought fine Mexican dining to New York City, and the world thanks Roberto Santibañez for this accomplishment. He’s a native of Mexico City but currently owns the Fonda restaurants in Manhattan and Brooklyn. He also has several cookbooks, including Tacos, Tortas and Tamales: Flavors From the Griddles, Pots, and Street-Side Kitchens of Mexico. 

10. Pati Jinich

CREDIT: PHOTO: patijinich/Instagram

Pati Jinich, an award-winning Mexican chef, TV personality, and cookbook author, is best known for her James Beard Foundation Award-winning and Emmy-nominated PBS series Pati’s Mexican Table. She has a cookbook by the same name, which was published in 2013, and a follow-up called Mexican Today, which was published in 2016. 

11. Enrique Olvera

CREDIT: PHOTO: enriqueolveraf/Instagram

If you’ve ever wanted to eat in one of the world’s best restaurants, then head to Pujol — which stands at Number 20 on the list and is Enrique Olvera’s place in Mexico City. However, he’s a celebrity chef to watch as he sets to open a Pujol-Cosme (one of his other restaurants) hybrid in Los Angeles. Although the menu is still in development, it is sure to be… well, one of the best.

 12. Michelle Bernstein

CREDIT: PHOTO: chefmichy/Instagram

The Argentine-American chef from Miami is a master of Latin cooking, and a James Beard Foundation Award-winning chef herself. She has several restaurants in Miami, including Seagrape at the Thompson hotel in Miami Beach. She has also appeared on Iron Chef America and on Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown episode on Miami.

13. José Mendín

CREDIT: PHOTO: chefmendin/Instagram

José Mendín of Pubbelly Restaurant group in Miami, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic is a rising star in the culinary world. Although he’s yet to win a James Beard Foundation Award, he was a five-time semifinalist for Best Chef, Southeast. It’s only a matter of time, really.

14. Alejandra Ramos

CREDIT: PHOTO: alwaysalejandra/Instagram

Food and lifestyle expert and television personality Alejandra Ramos is an on-camera host and a Today Show tastemaker who is dedicated to helping people make room for a delicious life. You’ve probably seen her cooking up her delicious, Latin-inspired (and sometimes now) recipes on TV, and we are sure to see more from the Puerto Rican chef.

15. Julian Medina

CREDIT: PHOTO: chefmedinanyc/Instagram

Julian Medina was born in Mexico city and was inspired by his father’s and grandfather’s authentic home cooking to become a chef himself. After training professionally, he eventually opened Toloache, Yerba Buena, and Yerba Buena Perry in New York City. Each restaurant presents refined Mexican cuisine and a Nuevo Latino-inspired take on Latin food.

16. Susie Jimenez

CREDIT: PHOTO: spiceitupsusie/Instagram

Susie Jimenez rose to fame after appearing on Food Network’s 7th season of Next Food Network Star. She is the owner of Spice It Up Catering, hosts several radio and television shows in Aspen, Colorado, and appears regularly as a culinary expert. 

17. Ricardo Zarate

CREDIT: PHOTO: ricardomzarate/Instagram

Ricardo Zarate, who was born in Lima, Peru, is known as “the godfather of Peruvian cuisine” and for a good reason. His name is synonymous with indigenous South American cuisine, and he his passion and drive have led him to spread Peruvian cuisine in Los Angeles… to the delight of many.

18. Diana Dávila

CREDIT: PHOTO: dianalachef/Instagram

Chicago-based chef Diana Dávila has served as a chef at several places (including a few in Washington, D.C.) before opening up her own place last year, Mi Tocaya Antojeria. She describes herself as a midwest Mexican, and her cuisine follows. She approaches it with the history of Mexican cuisine with unique touches of her own.

19. Ray Garcia

CREDIT: PHOTO: chefraygarcia/Instagram

Ray Garcia is a Los Angeles-based chef who grew up having a lot of Sunday dinners at his abuela’s house. And, as he puts it, “I didn’t choose food, it chose me.” He learned a restrained technique with a deep respect for the integrity of his ingredients, and used his culinary talents at Broken Spanish and B.S. Taqueria.

20. Daniela Soto-Innes

CREDIT: PHOTO: danielasotoinnes/Instagram

Two years ago, at just 25 years old, Daniela Soto-Innes won the Rising Star Chef of the Year Award from the James Beard Foundation, a huge honor for such a young chef. She was the chef de cuisine at Cosme, a Mexican-inspired restaurant from another person on our list (Enrique Olvera). 

21. Hugo Ortega

CREDIT: PHOTO: chef_hugo65/Instagram

Mexican City-bown Hugo Ortega is now the chef and co-owner at some of Houston’s top restaurants: Backstreet Cafe, Hugo’s, Caracol, and Xochi. He is also the recent winner of a James Beard Foundation Award and was a finalist for six consecutive years before that. 

22. Chef Lala

CREDIT: PHOTO: chef_lala/Instagram

Think that Latin food can’t be made healthy? Think again! Chef LaLa is a classically trained chef and certified nutritionist who runs her own high-end catering business, SAVOR!, in Los Angeles while also appearing worldwide on national and international television to promote healthy Latin cooking.

23. Omar Flores

CREDIT: PHOTO: chefomarflores/Instagram

Omas Flores has been in the kitchen from a young age, and remembers helping his father cook in their family-run restaurants. Eventually, though, his talents led him to open restaurants in Dallas, Texas. His latest is Whistle Britches, a chicken, biscuit, and beer concept that opened in 2016. He has also been nominated by the James Beard Foundation, as has been his 2013 restaurant Casa Rubia.

24. Terry Hope Romero

CREDIT: PHOTO: terryhope/Instagram

Terry Hope Romero, also known as the Vegan Latina, is here to prove that Latin food can be healthy and delicious — and vegan! You might think that it’s not possible to avoid meat if you’re Latinx, but she has proven that you totally can with her bestselling vegan cookbooks, Viva Vegan!: Authentic Vegan Latin American Recipes, Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook, and more. 

25. Jose Enrique

CREDIT: PHOTO: joseenriquepr/Instagram

The Puerto Rican-born chef Jose Enrique has worked in New York, Florida, and Louisiana before returning to his homeland. He opened his first restaurant, Jose Enrique, in 2007 and is known to focus on fresh Puerto Rican produce. He has won many accolades for his cuisine, including being a semifinalist for an award from the 2013 James Beard Foundation.


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Add This Día De Los Muertos Ice Cream Sandwich To Our Favorite Latino-Inspired Fall Foods At Disney

Culture

Add This Día De Los Muertos Ice Cream Sandwich To Our Favorite Latino-Inspired Fall Foods At Disney

Disneyland_Allfun / Instagram

Disney and Pixar gave the world Coco in 2017. The wonderful tribute to Mexican culture (seemingly crafted to make people of all ages cry), has ushered in a new era of Latinx and Mexican culture into Disney. Since the movie’s success, you can now cop tons of Latinx-inspired foods with a Disney twist at Disneyland. Just this month, the amusement park announced a concha ice cream sandwich — an invention so deadly delicious it’s only available in the afterlife (and at Disneyland too, lol). 

The film that brought Día de Los Muertos to life through beautiful, vibrant storytelling and animation featured a Mexican cast and composer. Coco was the first film with a nine-figure budget to feature an all Latinx principal cast and won two Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song, “Remember Me.” 

Check out our favorite Latinx treats at Disneyland, but this is just a taste of the menu there’s a wide selection of options at the land where dreams come true. 

Pan Dulce Concha Ice Cream Sandwich

She’s gorgeous, she’s stunning, she’s Selena Quintanilla! OK, maybe not. But this Mexican ice cream sandwich is a sight for sore eyes. Made with a pink and blue concha, aka Mexican sweet bread, and stuffed with dulce de leche ice cream — you might die of a sugar coma. The sandwich is also filled with cajeta, a goat milk-based caramel sauce, and churro streusel. Then to commemorate Día de los Muertos, a white chocolate sugar skull is nestled in a dollop of whipped cream. 

“Following the Mexican tradition of using bright colors as a celebration of life, the shell-like concha breads are also covered in a crunchy rainbow sugar crust, which makes them look both delicious and totally Insta-worthy,” according to Pop Sugar’s Chanel Vargas

The Conchas are available starting this month and cost $8 at Disneys’s flagship Mexican restaurant, Frontierland’s Rancho del Zocalo. 

Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Elotes

New elotes at the Cozy Cone Motel are another tribute to Mexican culture. The elotes comes in three different flavor queso cojito, Cheetos, and Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. These Elotes are limited edition and seasonal (this summer) so get them while you still can.

Orange Sugar Skull Pot de Creme

This “Orange Sugar Skull Pot de Creme” is made with thick layers of chocolate pudding, crumbled chocolate cake, and topped with a white chocolate orange sugar skull and colorful candies. 

The Maleficent Churro

According to Disneyland stans, the Maleficient Churro is a hot commodity because it is only available during Halloween. This month it has made its delicious return. Let’s be honest, the weird-looking churro is made with chocolate cookie crumbles, green sugar, and has a marshmallow dipping sauce. I don’t know what Maleficent has to do with Churros but I don’t care.

Frozen Abuelita Horchata

 Look, I am not saying I love capitalism, and certainly hope there are Latinx people profiting from these treats as well — but ¡diablo! — I want this right now. The Frozen Abuelita is layered with frozen hot chocolate and frozen horchata, then topped with spiced whipped cream.  

Coco Cake

Disney Food Blog referred to the Coco Cake as the “best cake ever.” With layers of vanilla-flavored pink and orange cake, what sets the Coco Cake apart from others is its cream cheese frosting on the outside, and two layers of cinnamon churro mouse on the inside. Disney took the glycemic index and blasted it off space mountain. The base of the cake is also decorated with gold-dusted chocolate curls. This is what Coco deserves. Remember me, indeed.

Chile Mango Whip

The chile mango whip is made with chamoy, mango, pineapple, cucumber, jicama, and chile-lime salt. 

The Sandianada and Mangonada

“The Sandianada is a watermelon smoothie with chamoy, watermelon chunks, topped with a chili candy. Mangonada is a mango smoothie with chamoy, mango pieces, topped with a chili candy,” wrote one Instagram user.

Secret Menu: Zocalo Burrito

Like every restaurant (apparently) Disneyland has a few secret menu items too. At Rancho del Zocalo you can request the Zocalo Burrito which is filled with every ingredient in the prep line for $12.99. 

Cinnamon-sugar Buñuelos Chips  

This seasonal holiday treat or as Disney calls it “dessert nachos” is something to look forward to this winter season. There is nothing more comforting (I’m guessing, I haven’t tried this yet) than cinnamon-sugar buñuelos chips with chocolate and caramel sauces, sprinkles, and a whipped cream topping.

A Latina Broke Down The Ingredients Of Sazón And Apparently It Can Trigger Anxiety And Brain Damage

Culture

A Latina Broke Down The Ingredients Of Sazón And Apparently It Can Trigger Anxiety And Brain Damage

Most Latina moms are legendary for their food. They pride themselves on using traditional recipes with authentic spices, so why would we ever in a million years question their methods especially because it tastes so good? Doubting the cooking of any Latina mom will undoubtedly get you slapped and rightly so. However, after seeing this Facebook post, we most certainly will have a sit down with our mom and inform her about this travesty in Latino cooking.

Adina Monet, a foodie on Facebook, told the world some shocking news about Goya Foods, Sazon seasoning. She said it has an ingredient called MSG.

According to Google research, MSG (Monosodium glutamate) “is the sodium salt of glutamic acid, one of the most abundant naturally occurring non-essential amino acids.” It’s also found “naturally in tomatoes, grapes, cheese, mushrooms, and other foods,” but it can also be harmful.

Monet writes, “Monosodium Glutamate is the main ingredient in Sazon spices. It interrupts the intricate system that our bodies have set to properly function. Monosodium glutamate or better known as MSG is a chemical synthesized in a lab by scientists who most likely synthesized the chemical makeup of your favorite perfume. This chemical makes it difficult for the brain to receive messages from the hormone leptin that signals the body when it has had enough energy from food. Therefore, consuming MSG will prevent feeling full and therefore cause excess storage of fat.”

MSG is also used to enhance the flavor of foods, especially Asian and Hispanic dishes. Many restaurants use this flavoring, though some do let patrons know that they include it.

According to the FDA, MSG is technically “safe” to consume.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration reports that MSG is “generally recognized as safe. The watchdog group requires that foods containing added MSG list it on the ingredient panel as monosodium glutamate. If MSG is found naturally in some of the ingredients (hydrolyzed vegetable protein, autolyzed yeast, hydrolyzed yeast, yeast extract, soy extracts, and protein isolate), the manufacturer does not have to list MSG on the label. That said, these foods can’t say ‘No MSG’ or ‘No added MSG’ on their packaging. MSG also cannot be listed as generic spices and flavoring.

The Sazon packaging doesn’t say anything about MSG on the front. People have to read the ingredients to see that it is clearly there. Here are some possible symptoms of MSG:

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  • Headache.
  • Flushing.
  • Sweating.
  • Facial pressure or tightness.
  • Numbness, tingling or burning in the face, neck and other areas.
  • Rapid, fluttering heartbeats (heart palpitations).
  • Chest pain.
  • Nausea.

True story: I have consumed MSG at a Chinese restaurant without knowing it, and without getting too graphic or gross, my symptoms included rapid heart rate and dashing for the nearest bathroom.

People on social media were aghast over the harmful ingredients to a household spice.

Seriously, so we just throw it in the trash? Guess so.

It’s basically the end of our life.

Will old school moms be okay with this?

So, can Adina please provide information on all Hispanic foods cause some of us are still struggling.

Looking at labels is too hard!

What about this theory?

Our abuelas still look good and eat Sazon. So what gives?

At the end of the day, we know we’ll be okay.

Remember, consume anything in moderation. That is the key!

READ: 20 Delicious Hidden NY Latino Food Gems You Need to Try