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.
SL: 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!