This post comes to us courtesy of Cultivate.com editor Sarah Latta.
What’s better than a good Texan chef? Two Texan chefs! Especially if they happen to be a father and son team bringing dad’s native South American cuisine to the Lone Star State.
In honor of annual dad’s day, the team at Cultivate.com sat down with father and son, Houston-based chefs Michael and David Cordúa. Together, the pair own and operate seven award-winning Houston-area restaurants, where they’re famous for unique dishes like the Rosespud, a 10-foot-long taro root chip that looks like a mammoth bloom. (Intrigued? So are we.) Read below what they have to say about kitchens, cooking, and culture, plus how they cook the perfect steak. Then, read the full interview here.
CULTIVATE: David, you graduated from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris then went on to cook at some of France’s finest restaurants. How different are these regions’ kitchen setups?
DAVID: The grill is the single biggest difference. In France, I never touched one; everything was done in pots and pans. Our restaurants in Houston are all grill-centric, though I still love the sear you get with cast iron. We’re actually moving toward using more cast iron in our restaurants.
CULTIVATE: How do your Latin-style kitchens in Texas compare to those in Latin countries, especially Michael’s native Nicaragua?
MICHAEL: The biggest difference is that men in Latin cultures don’t cook. As a result, my biggest challenge was that there were no male role models for me growing up. In Nicaragua, cooking is the maid’s job and kitchens are in the back of the house. The kitchen as the center of the home is a very American trait, and I embrace that.
CULTIVATE: Esquire Magazine ranked your steak as as one of the “Top 20 Best Steaks in America.” What tips can you offer readers trying to impress summer guests with a great steak?
DAVID: We only use the center cut because it’s the most tender. Then we wet age it. Stay away from trying to recreate those grill marks you always see on commercials. Instead focus on getting an even carmelization on one side without turning it.
MICHAEL: Once the meat’s done, rest it on its presentation side and salt the bottom just before serving.
About the author: Sarah Latta, editor of Cultivate.com, Williams-Sonoma’s website on kitchen design and inspiration, admittedly thinks about the look of her kitchen just as much as she does the food that gets cooked in it. And while she can practically touch both walls of her San Francisco kitchen (at the same time), it doesn’t stop her from dreaming of wide prep counters and an ultra-organized spice cabinet. Having worked as an editor at various shelter magazines, home design is her sweet spot—and kitchens, her passion.