Inspiring Latina of the Week: Chef & Food Blogger Bren Herrera

Have you always wanted to be a professional chef? 

No, oddly enough! My baby brother was the one who told the family at 3 years old he was going to be a chef. Up until he was 20, he still wanted to. So when my life took an amazing turn into entertainment full-time, we were all surprised that cooking took over the way it has. I love to cook, no doubt, but it's more the entertaining element that keeps me excited. 

You have been featured on Cuisine Noir, NBC Latino, Mamiverse, and many other TV shows and publications. How does that make you feel to know that you are reaching so many people daily? 

I love it! I love inspiring people, especially young women. So many women don't cook. I'm still surprised at the number of young women who either don't know or are intimidated by the process in the kitchen. Sharing my experiences and food is my way of inspiring them to try, to not be afraid, and to be a part of the mission to revive a lost art. I think cooking in general is a lost art we need to revive! Reaching so many people is such a blessing. I know my voice matters and people are interested! 

Has your Cuban heritage inspired some of your recipes?

Cuban food is what I learned to cook first. And up until only 8 years ago, it was the only cuisine I focused on. I love my food, everything about it. It has so much soul and character. There's a story behind every dish I make. So even when it's not Cuban at its core, I try to infuse an element of classic Cuban ingredients or technique. For instance, I love flan more than any other dessert ever. Flan is the cornerstone of my blog and I love creating unique and delicious recipes based on the tastes I experience around the world. Right now I’m into fruit flans, which are perfect for summer. Lately I’ve been poaching apples, pears, and cherries in Madria Sangria (a readymade sangria that comes in Moscato or Tradicional) and pouring a nice amount on top of a fruit or plain flan. Sangria and flan are an obvious pairing and the fruit adds a refreshing taste, perfect for warm weather parties. 

Do you have a favorite dish?  

Rabo encendido, or oxtail! Have you ever had it? If not, I highly recommend it. It's a really robust dish, very versatile too. It's a Cuban staple I can't get enough of. I learned how to make it from my mother. And I make it in the pressure cooker, which enriches the flavors of a fine cut of meat. 

See what advice Bren has for other Latinas on page 4 >>