Q&A with is a new on-going articles series where we ask Latinx creators about different topics. This month, we’re talking about heritage and how it influenced them.
Chef Luis Gerardo Lopez was born in Guárico, Venezuela, and is currently living in Miami, where he has his own project called Consentido. He defines himself as a creator of gastronomic concepts and flavors, and he’s also a food writer.
We asked him about the importance of his cultural heritage when creating new dishes for his restaurant: “My cultural heritage is rich and extensive thanks to the migration that existed in my country. Gastronomically speaking, it seems to me that the heritage is rich. For example, having had influence from Asia, Europe made us grow with those flavors which became very common for us Venezuelans. Therefore, all that culinary heritage for those of us who decide to dedicate ourselves to cooking makes it easier for us when creating a dish, because we come with those flavors in mind. As for classic Venezuelan cuisine, I try to respect it to the maximum.”
Besides being influenced by his home country, Venezuela, we wanted to know about Chef Luis Gerardo López’s family memories in the kitchen and how they influence him on a daily basis: “My best memories of my family kitchen are many. I come from a family with a majority of women, in this case they are my aunts and they cook very well. The emblematic dish of them that I use the most is the Venezuelan Hallaca. My aunt’s tips are very accurate and they work. And other dishes such as pasticho or eggplant lasagna, sweet green or milky papaya, chicken sancocho, my mother’s tripe soup, tomato soup, etc. I could put together a family recipe book.”
Bilingual cooking, according to Chef Luis Gerardo López
Since he mentions a Venezuelan dish both in English and Spanish, it would be safe to think that he would translate all of them for his American public, right? Wrong: “It is a bit difficult when you arrive in this country to get adapted to all the ingredients and their names in English. Although they seem the same, their flavor is different and there are dishes such as arepa, empanada, tequeños, and cachapa that do not have a translation, nor do I intend to look it up because they would not be the same.”
For this amazing chef, cultural heritage means that without keeping rooted from where we are and come from we lose our identity, therefore we lose our authenticity. “My contribution to my country is to continue cooking Venezuelan where I can and when I can. To friends, co-workers, neighbors, etc. It is the only way to make our gastronomy known and take advantage of this migration to bring our seasoning to all corners of the world.”
We love finding people that keep honoring their large history and rich heritage, even when they are away from their home countries, and Luis Gerardo is an incredible example of this. Thank you for kindly sharing your remarkable thoughts with us!