Best New Chef Competition
When Food & Wine magazine asked for my input in nominating a chef in our area for the annual People’s Best New Chef competition, it was a no-brainer. I quickly tossed Frederick Perez’s chef toque into the ring. As owner-chef of Del Mar al Lago Cebicheria Peruana (310 Bugatti Drive, Salt Lake City, 801-467-2890, DelMaralLago.com), Perez has given traditional Peruvian cuisine—ceviche, especially—an artful and contemporary reboot. The flavors are bold and bright at Del Mar al Lago match the eye-popping presentation of Perez’s dishes. Still, you’d be hard-pressed to find a chef any nicer or more humble than Perez. In the Best New Chef (Southwest) competition, he’s up against eight Texas chefs with restaurants in Austin, Houston and Dallas, and one who’s Denver/Boulder-based. If you’re reading this before April 1, there’s still time to vote at FoodAndWine.com/blogs. Let’s win one for Utah! I’ll announce the winner here in an upcoming column.
Let’s Get Saucy!
Salt Lake City food enthusiast, writer, bon vivant and international man of mystery Mick Huerta can now add cookbook author to his résumé. Huerta has put in a lot of time in South America and his culinary expertise has resulted in Salsa! The Sauces of South America, available for Kindle ($3.99). Part travelogue, part cookbook—although many of the salsas don’t require cooking—Salsa! includes recipes from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela, and features salsa styles from chimichurri and aji sauce for ceviche to star fruit sauce from Columbia and a rich Ecuadorean cheese sauce called salsa de queso. More than just a cookbook, Huerta connects food and culture with stories and insights into the people of South America who shared their recipes with him, all beautifully photographed and very well-written. Huerta has ties to Newfoundland, and says his next project is to begin research for an upcoming book about “Down East” cooking.
Quote of the week: One of the very best things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating. —Luciano Pavarotti