A few weeks ago YumSugar and I were lucky enough to speak with Food Network's newest star, the Latino sensation Ingrid Hoffmann. Born in Colombia and based out of Miami, Hoffmann is the Shakira of the culinary world — she's the first Spanish speaking celebrity chef to make the cross over and currently she has shows on both Food Network and Univision — making her the first person to have shows aired in both English and Spanish.
Like a breath of breezy ocean air, Ingrid is personable, likable, and ready to party. She has a certain flavor and spice that is apparent in both her cooking and her personality. To learn a little bit more about Ingrid and find out what her hectic schedule is like,
Party/YumSugar: How did you get into cooking?
Ingrid Hoffmann: I got into cooking when I was little. I would always cook with my mother.
P/YSugar: What is your biggest inspiration?
IH: The love of life. I get inspiration in the oddest places, like looking out the window or seeing a pretty plate. I approach food backwards. I'm very visual, I see the plate first then visualize the theme and the food and textures on top of it.
P/YSugar: What is your favorite theme?
IH: I rummage around the house and convert stuff I find into something else to be a part of the table. Anything to do with the beach. I've done a lot of catering and events and many of my ideas come from these weddings and parties I've done. I'm always thinking.
P/YSugar: What trends are emerging in the culinary world?
IH: It's a very interesting concept for someone to have two shows in two different markets like I do. Nuevo Latino, modern Latin food is a huge emerging trend. I love playing with dishes my grandmother would make and use real authentic ingredients to make something new and modern. Rum and fruit are very important to the Nuevo Andina, a huge movement that is taking place in Peru now. All these classically trained Peruvian chefs have returned home to combine the indigenous ingredients with the modern techniques to create a new type of cuisine.
P/YSugar: What are you hoping to teach to American people?
IH: People in America think that Latin food is Mexican food and I want to teach them that it goes above and beyond this. Each region of Latin and Southern America has its own type of cuisine. Mainstream America is not used to my type of food. It's a whole new thing — I add a lot of coconut, raisins, lime, and cilantro to dishes. I love fusing Asian flavors with Latin flavors. I love making ceviches. I use quinoa. Latin America is influenced by China and Europe, and that is reflected in our cuisine.
P/YSugar: What's your filming schedule like?
IH: I film in two-three month blocks on sets. The Food Network built me one here. Right now I'm in pre-production for my Latin show on Univision and I just finished shooting for the Food Network. When I'm shooting, I'm up every morning at 4:30 or 5 for make up because it takes 2 hours to get ready. I just got back from an amazing wine festival in Puerto Rico where I did some appearances for my Latin show. I'm very busy because I have to do this, the press on both sides.
P/YSugar: Do you cook at home?
IH: Yeah, absolutely! I always try to eat healthy.
P/YSugar: What's in your fridge?
IH: Always yogurt, milk, butter, herbs — I have a cilantro pot on my terrace — parsley, rosemary. I use a lot of woshy [worcestershire] sauce, avocado, tortillas, and arepas which are a type of Colombian tortilla.
P/YSugar: What's your advice to the everyday hostess?
IH: Pick smart menus. People like to do fancy stuff when they invite guests over, often choosing dishes they don't know how to make. Choose yummy things that you are not going to stress over. Make things three days ahead, two days ahead. Plan really well. Buy the ice and stock the bar five days before. Set the table three days before. Get as much as you can done before the day of the party.
P/YSugar: A successful party is...
IH: Picking a light and make ahead menu.
P/YSugar: What did you eat for lunch today?
IH: A churasco steak with jicama and watercress, radishes and arugula with olive oil and lime.
P/YSugar: How is it on Food Network vs Univision?
IH: It was a dream come true to be on Food Network. It's a challenge to do food that the general American public can relate to that wont upset the Latin population with my portrayal of their cultural cuisine. How do I keep everyone happy? Each has been amazing to me.
P/YSugar: What is your guilty pleasure food?
IH: Anything with starch in it. Rice.
P/YSugar: How has life changed since your show aired on Food Network?
IH: I'm doing lots more press. Life has gotten busier. I'm learning what is relevant to one market that is not relevant to another. Americans want things to be easy and Hispanics are much more price conscious of the menu. It's very interesting noting the difference between the two markets.
P/YSugar: What's next for you?
IH: Multiple shows. Obviously a dream would be to have a travel show But right now I just want this one to be a success.
Have you seen Ingrid's show, Simply Delicioso on Food Network? Now that you know a little bit more about her, what do you think??