This week for #MRGTOP10 Seth Makowsky reached out to Chef Carmen Gonzalez. Carmen, a celebrated chef and culinary artist has over 25 years of experience under her belt. A graduate from the New York Restaurant School, Chef Carmen honed her skills at the fabled Quilted Giraffe. She moved on to open the extremely successful and critically acclaimed Carmen the Restaurant located in Miami. She was also featured in the champions round of Season 2 Top Chef Masters on Bravo raising over $10,000 for her charity the ASPCA. Chef Carmen’s Spanish language TV show “La Chispa de Chef Carmen Gonzalez” debuted on September 13, 2012 reaching more than 20 countries in over 20 million households in Latin America. Now let’s dig in and find out what really makes this modern food icon tick!
Chef Carmen Gonzalez Answers Seth Makowsky’s #MRGTOP10
- The best thing you’ve ever eaten and why? Probably the 15 or 16 course lunch that I had 6 years ago at Restaurant Alexandre in Provence, where the details and perfection on the menu creation and execution was simply unforgettable, each bite was so exquisite that I still dream of it.
- Childhood food that you still won’t eat? Liver with onions, my father’s favorite.
- Dead or alive who would you most love to cook with? Hands down Alain Ducasse.
- Do you do all the cooking at home? Since I am single there is not much cooking done at home but yes I do.
- Funniest kitchen mishap/incident? 1986 Quilted Giraffe Restaurant in NYC, when asked in the middle of service to run downstairs to the walk-in cooler and get some heavy cream I didn’t realize that I need to climb onto a shelf in order to reach it. (It was a huge 10-gallon plastic bucket) I did, but when I pulled the cap a few gallons of cream came pouring out over me!
- How has the taste of consumers changed during your career? Tremendously, when I first started in NYC it was the era of big expense accounts so people were eating and drinking without any hesitation as to how much it would cost. Then with the launch of the food network, people wanted to dine in those restaurants owned by TV chefs. Now people have become well educated as to what food is and should be and are more demanding for quality and ingredient sources as well as the execution of dishes, while keeping and eye on what a meal should cost.
- Staple junk food in your pantry? Potato Chips and oreo cookies.
- What do you have ready to harvest from your garden right now?I live in NYC so the Greenmarket at Union Square is my personal garden!
- What is your best creation to date? My flan and all my bar food.
- What is your favorite thing to cook? Any kind of seafood.
Chef Carmen Gonzalez Bonus Questions!
- Who is your biggest culinary inspiration and why? Jonathan Waxman, I have the greatest admiration and respect for him as a person and as a Chef. His food is so simple and yet so incredibly perfect. Ingredients and flavors at its best. Nothing like it.
- Why did you become a chef? My mom was an amazing cook who had her own garden – I grew up eating incredible food, which made me fall in love with food. At the age of ten I announced that I was going to be a chef and own a restaurant, so it has been a lifelong love affair!
- Your absolute must have kitchen item? My Japanese knife, it’s like my arm is attached to it!
- Your death row meal? Whole fried snapper, tostones and avocado from the crash boat beach in my hometown of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. And a bacon cheeseburger for dessert!