Cooking is remembering. It’s being with the people you had that dish with for the first time again, or the feeling of being transported back to your childhood kitchen through scents and images, reveling in the pleasure of eating at home as a young kid.
Yes, cooking is often remembering one’s childhood. Perhaps that’s why I usually find myself grabbing the phone when I want to make one of my country’s typical dishes. I do so not only to check with my mother and brothers and make sure I have all the necessary ingredients, but also to arrive at that particular flavor engraved somewhere between my sense of smell and taste, that still lingers in my memory.
Chef Domingo Garza experiences something similar, because when we asked him to make a “Grandma’s Recipe” for us, the first thing he did was call Doña América Guerra.
We met with Domingo at his Williamsburg-Brooklyn apartment, where he was waiting for us all prepped up and ready to make the famous Calabacitas con Costillas de Puerco (“Tatuma Squash Pumpkins with Pork Ribs”). But chef Garza’s repertoire is not limited to Mexican food solely. Domingo told us that Peruvian lomo saltado and Argentinean empanadas are two of his favorite dishes.
He also confessed he is a great fan of Chinese and French cuisines. Throughout his long career, Domingo has worked as a private chef for several prominent New York families, he’s also worked as executive chef for Amanda Smith Caterers, and more recently, he ventured as executive chef for “Montaco”, a gourmet food truck company that was a huge hit last summer at the Hamptons and Montauk beaches (New York), and which also got blurbed in New York Magazine and Urbandaddy.com.
Photos by Alejandra Martins.