On becoming American and speaking English
Poking fun at his definitively (and delightfully) Spanish accent, Andres prompted applause and laughter when he said: “Hey, I don’t need a translator. I am an American now.” He later added, “When you become an American they give you an injection so your accent changes,” and affecting a Georgia drawl, joked “I’m from the South now.”
On kitchen wisdom
In addition to the humor, flames, and flying pots and pans, Andres peppered the presentation with some surprising – and oft forgotten – cooking tips:
- Talk to your food. Even if you don’t think olives dream of piquillo peppers, there’s merit in treating food with dignity. Respect for ingredients is an essential aspect of quality cooking, and conversing with food is closely tied to cooking with love.
- Cook barefoot. In Chef’s words: “It’s like being naked.” Enough said.
- Drink while cooking. A sip or two here and there will relax you and make the process more fun. It will also dull the pain of a less than stellar dish. As Andres joked, “If you’re going to f^#% up the dinner, at least be drunk.”
- Don’t worry about recipes. Follow them if it makes you feel better, but in Andres’ words: “Recipes are overrated.” He confided that every time he does the Martha Stewart show, she chides him for not following the agreed upon recipe.
- Save tomato seeds. According to Andres, they have a lovely flavor and texture and can be used to infuse dishes with an element of surprise. They’re also, he says, the most “sexy thing you’ve ever eaten in your life.”