Culture

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

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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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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:

Amazon
  • 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

Here’s Your Guide To Eating Vegan Latin Food In Miami

Culture

Here’s Your Guide To Eating Vegan Latin Food In Miami

charlysvegantacos / Instagram

Last year, Miami made PETA’s “Top 10 Vegan-Friendly Cities” list for the first time ever, and for good reason. For all the stereotypes around white vegans, once again, people of color are often ignored for their contributions to the animal rights movement. Next time you’re in Miami, trust that these beans have no lard and these croquetas are jamón-free.

Without further ado, here are all the vegan Latinos making moves and gifting us vegan food in Miami.

Sacred Space

CREDIT: @sacredspacemiami / Instagram

Chef Horacio Rivadero and Pastry Chef Veronica Manolizi come together to give us vegan and gluten-free tostadas, papaya confit, curry arepas, and fennel ceviche. All this on a patio lined with guava trees.

Charly’s Vegan Tacos

CREDIT: @charlysvegantacos / Instagram

Chef Charly was working as an executive chef in Mexico City when he learned how animal agriculture is decimating the earth. He decided to open his own 100 percent vegan taquería in Tulum and Miami and business is booming.

Vegan Cuban Cuisine

CREDIT: @vegancubancuisine / Instagram

Currently, VCC is only available via delivery, but you’ll find their vegan flan, sandwiches, and croquetas at some vegan establishments. Pro tip: Aguacate Wellness is known to carry their croquetas.

Choices Organic Café

CREDIT: @thevshopsfoodhall / Instagram

Choices Organic Café gives us traditional Mexican and Latin flavors without compromising on organic, non-GMO quality. Enjoy soyrizo quesadillas, or build your own burrito or bowl, where plantains and guacamole count as a ‘veggie’ option. That’s right. The guac is NOT extra.

Edukos

CREDIT: @edukosmiami / Instagram

Nestled in Little Havana, Edukos gives us twists on Venezuelan classics. It’s not entirely vegan, but offers impossible meat pasticho del valle, plantain hummus with mushroom soffit stuffed grape leaves and incredible flavors.

Bunnie Cakes

CREDIT: @msbunniecakes / Instagram

Mariana Cortez founded Bunnie Cakes Studio after she couldn’t find a birthday cake for her dairy-allergic son. The studio will decorate fabulous vegan cakes for you, teach you to decorate your own cupcakes or cake, and hosts workshops, ranging from Frida Kahlo decorations to Pumpkin Spice Tres Leches.

Home Sweet Earth

CREDIT: @homesweetearthmiami / Instagram

Bakery Chef Sabrina Carranza is giving Miami all the vegan postres we need. From the frosting-coated cinnamon rolls to Cuban guava pastelitos, your Latinx sweet tooth is covered.

The Spanglish Vegan

CREDIT: @thespanglishvegan305 / Instagram

This institution has only cropped up in the last few weeks and already the reviewers are raving. The Spanglish Vegan is giving us all our classic favorites, like mofongo and yucca, with vegan carne asada and shredded jackfruit.

Plant Theory Botanical Cafe

CREDIT: @gablaw876 / Instagram

Serving you all vegan meals, including brunch, at the Whitelaw Hotel, Plant Theory is not a tapas place. Enjoy hearty meals, including a guava BBQ jackfruit burgers,

Vegan and Juice

CREDIT: @veganandjuice / Instagram

Their Instagram game is weak, but that’s because its vegan Dominican flavors are strong. You can get El Plato del Día for just $9 and pick four of whatever is remade for the day, from malanga pastelon, platanos maduras and empanadas. It’s probably the most affordable, authentic vegan place in Miami but don’t expect organic labels or compostable to go containers. Pack your own.

GLAM Vegan

CREDIT: @glam.vegan_ / Instagram

Enjoy jackfruit tacos, watermelon ceviche and tres leches cake at GLAM vegan. It’s not a classic Latin restaurant, but about a third of its menu are made up of vegan twists on Latin classics.

Love Life Cafe

CREDIT: @lovelife_cafe / Instagram

While not entirely vegan, everything here is plant-based and rico. Try the sancocho soup, any of their arepas, or this pictured picadillo bowl made from Beyond meat. Tengo hombre.

Happy Vegan Bakers

CREDIT: @happyveganbakers / Instagram

This Colombian owned bakery is a hole in the wall, and also boasts as the first all vegan pastelito establishment in Miami. Come through for papa rellenos, croquetas, and even tamales.

My Roots Juice Bar

CREDIT: @myrootsjuicebar / Instagram

Yes, this is a juice bar, but it’s serving Miamians what we need: Cayenne Mango smoothies, frijoles bowls and so many empanadas. Choose from “Supreme,” “Tropical,” Spinach and Mushroom varieties of gluten-free, vegan empanadas.

CREDIT: @mannalifefood / Instagram

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CREDIT: @vegan_schmegan_bakery / Instagram

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Taco Chido

CREDIT: @tacochidotaqueria / Instagram

It’s hard to find authentic Mexican food in South Florida, but when you do, you go often. This taquería has only been open a couple weeks and is creating buzz for it’s vegan longaniza, soyrizo and mushroom tacos. Take your carnivorous friends y disfruten.

St. Roch Market

CREDIT: @st.rochmarket / Instagram

In the heart of Miami’s Design District is this food hall with a wide variety of cuisines. Check out Chef Chloe’s vegan tacos and avocado coconut soft serve!

READ: Latino Food Is Getting The Vegan Makeover Thanks To These 11 Southern California Restaurants

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