Interview with Chef Stanley

havan111 Writer and Exec Board member Jenny Xu had the opportunity to interview Stanley Licairac, the Executive Chef at local hot spot Havana Central.  Accompanied by Photographer and Exec Board member Ortal Isaac, Jenny was even able to visit the kitchens and some fantastic food.  The interview/article will be printed in full in the first issue of Culinarian.  For now, enjoy this preview!

Jenny Xu: So why did you decide to become a chef?

Stanley Licairac: I basically grew up in the business. Restaurants were my play ground; even my grandfather was a chef. It’s where I grew up, it’s what I did. The whole Latin culture, it’s a very warm and embracing culture. You’ll go to a Latin mom’s or grandma’s house, and the first thing they do is make you eat or drink, just make you feel comfortable.

JX: Do you have any tips for eating well with a super busy schedule?

SL: With scheduling, I work 16-17 hours a day, in school your schedule is so erratic. But if you find time, it only takes three hours to cook a couple of meals. Let’s say you blanch shrimp. You can easily mix that with some olive oil and veggies and you have a shrimp salad. You can do quite a bit in a short period of time.

JX: So it’s all about getting creative.

havana4SL: Don’t be scared! I actually didn’t go to school for culinary. I’m actually an airplane mechanic. I went to school for aeronautics and it was a lot of fun, but Cup of Noodles goes a long way. That, a tomato, an onion and some bread and mayonnaise and that was it. Don’t be scared to be creative, chances are you’re probably right it’ll come out good.

JX:What is your first memory of cooking?

SL: First memory of being in the kitchen is when I was very young watching my mother cook Sofrito (a traditional Latin base for many dishes).  I remember making pancakes for my parents when I was young.  I would wake up in the morning and make my parents breakfast in bed.

JX: Was that when realized you wanted to become a chef?

SL:I think in my heart I always knew I wanted to be a chef.  I was in my parents’ restaurant as child and helped out in every area from dishwasher on up.  It was just something in my blood that I always enjoyed and have always had a talent for.

Stay tuned for the full article as well as recipes straight from Chef Stanley!

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