Soup to Nuts with Chef Richard Sandoval
Reign is pleased to present a new dining feature called Soup to Nuts. The profile will be a continuous foray into dining, cooking, trends and techniques, news and notes as well as thoughtful interviews, galleries and events.
For its debut right in the thick of the holiday season that is synonymous with wonderful eats, who better to pick their brain about flavors, family and fare than Richard Sandoval?
The world renowned chef who’s put his personal touch on menus and restaurants around the globe sat down with Reign and shared some insight on his holiday traditions, memories and his latest cookbook New Latin Flavors.
This time of year, so many people appreciate a nice holiday drink and Chef Sandoval is no different. His libation of choice? “Ponche, the Mexican warm fruit punch of the holiday season. It’s sometimes nothing more than spiced syrup with booze. My family recipe is better, and is infused with the tropical flavors of hibiscus and tamarind. You can enjoy it with or without the tequila.”
Undoubtedly, ponche will accompany Chef just fine with his two favorite holiday dishes. The first one is Romeritos con mole. Romeritos are a wild plant with sprigs somewhat resembling rosemary, but has a delicate taste closest to that of baby spinach.
Bacalao a la Mexicana (Mexican-Style Salted Cod) is another go-to for Chef and is a holiday mainstay. “It’s a Mexican Christmas tradition made with hearty potatoes, salty olives and capers, tomatoes, and chiles.”
With our mouths already watering, Chef Sandoval tops everything off with his favorite holiday dessert in bringing in some sweet to balance out so much savory. The very traditional Mexican Christmas dessert of apple and pineapple salad with pecans gets the call.
With Chef Sandoval, it’s all about family. He tells us that his fondest Christmas memories are cooking with his grandmother in Acapulco as well as cooking with his two children, now ages 17 and 14. His favorite Christmas gifts he’s ever received were the homemade gifts that his children created while growing up.
You could also say Chef has a new addition to his family that he’s also very proud of, his latest cookbook New Latin Flavors. From the author himself, “the book is a combination of appetizers, small plates, finger foods, entrees and creative cocktails. The book has a fun, young feel and is perfect for both the novice and seasoned chef. Many of the recipes are inspired by my signature dishes at the restaurants, but streamlined for the home cook.”
“I grew up in a family of good cooks and restaurateurs and wanted to showcase some of the traditional items that I grew up with. It’s important to me that the food world understands the complexity and quality of traditional Mexican cuisine. Something that sets this book apart from most is the “The Latin Bar” Section. I worked with my Director of Beverage to create a large variety of mixed cocktails and traditional Latin beverages. ”
“I would like the book to generate excitement and a new found curiosity about Latin cuisine. If someone typically cooks Italian fare for their family and friends, I would like to see them branch out by using this book to use Latin fare as a perfect option for cooking for themselves and guests. I hope the book opens up new doors for entertaining with a Latin flair. I also hope that the book provides helpful insight and educates the home cook on Latin cooking techniques and ingredients.”
Since this season is all about giving, Chef is sharing his delicious recipe for Thai Chicken Empanadas which serve as a great representation of his Latin-Asian technique. He adds that “Empanadas can also be made well ahead of baking and are perfect for serving for a crowd as an appetizer during a holiday gathering.”
Currently, Sandoval’s favorite restaurant in his impressive collection is Denver’s La Biblioteca de Tequila. “Tequila flows through my blood and this concept is so fun. La Biblioteca features more than 350 varieties of tequilas and mezcals- and it’s right by my apartment in Denver in RiverFront Park.”
There’s no rest for the wicked, however. In 2015, he has two new restaurants opening up with Mango Tree in Washington D.C. as well as Latinicity in Chicago. In addition to balancing those projects, Chef also has lots of travel and family time on the agenda for next year.
He even has a new year’s resolution: “Get back on the tennis court. I was once a professional tennis player and toured the world participating in prestigious matches.”
Game. Set. Match. Sandoval.