Greetings and welcome to Sofrito Magazine I started this site to bring awareness to Latino cuisine and culture, sharing my personal experiences cooking, playing with recipes using traditional ingredients (and some not so traditional), and drawing on my three decades of work in the restaurant business. Both of my parents were born in Puerto Rico, and shortly after I was born in Brooklyn, NY, we moved back to Bayamon, Puerto Rico were I experienced many rites of passage. Most of them involving food!
I learned to cook watching my mother going to the local markets, feeling and listening to ingredients to make sure they were fresh and ready to eat. Some ingredients made more noise than others. I distinctly remember buying freshly killed hens and chicken, arduously plucking them in hot water, before she cooked them. My hard work in plucking would make the resulting dishes so much better. My favorites were the Asopaos (Heavy rice soups) or Guisados (Spanish stews). I learned to marry many different flavors not measuring the ingredients but tasting as I went along.
At 17 I started working in restaurants in Puerto Rico as a waiter and as part-time cook when needed in the kitchen. I moved to New Haven, CT in 1989 and worked at various restaurants in the area Including Bruxelles, Brasserie and Bar and Scoozi’s Italian Bistro.
I attended the New York Restaurant School and graduated with honors in Culinary Arts and restaurant management, practicing my craft at externships in Dolce (Stamford, CT) and worked at a Country Club in Weston, CT. I then worked at Spazzi’s in Fairfield, CT, La Cremailliere in Banksville, NY as a pastry chef assistant to Wendy Laurent, and La Colombe D’or. I made the transition to work for Compass Group (North American Division) as a catering supervisor eventually becoming Catering Manager.
Now, using Sofrito as my medium, I decided to combine my experiences with food and my Latino culture and heritage.
Sofrito Magazine will be available online as a webzine that is available to download via the Itunes or google apps. Each issue will have book and restaurant reviews, interviews, recipes, tidbits, announcements of restaurant openings and much more. The highlight will be Que es Eso? (What’s That?), an in-depth look into the origins and culture of kitchen gadgets, utensils, herbs, and spices that have made their way into the Latino kitchens with indigenous roots intertwined with Old World traditions.
Enjoy, Buen Provecho!