Eddy Fernández Monte

Chef Eddy at the Cuban Food Fiesta event Kuala Lumpur Malaysia. CREDIT: Swiss Garden Hotel and Residences.

For 15 years, Chef Fernandez Monte is the president of the federation of culinary associations of Cuba who has more than 70 000 members and he is a reference in the Cuban gastronomy scene and with international prestige.

He is in this profession n for almost 40 years  and a very popular having wrote many books and being in multiple television programs.

 

Interview:

Where did you grow up?

I was born on December 9, 1961 in Havana Cuba.

What inspired you to become a Chef?

I always had a passion for cooking, I helped my mother to make some basic preparations and then I started at 18 to study at the tourism school in Havana.

Why did you get interested in cuisine?

The kitchen is an art that feeds spiritually and nutritionally. It is the reflection of our culture and is part of our cultural identity.

What makes Cuban cuisine unique and special?

Cuban cuisine has indigenous roots - Spanish, African, French, Chinese, Arabic and other nationalities.

Can you share your favorite Cuban recipe? 

I like seafood dishes, rice dishes but I prefer pork dishes like el cerdo relleno la ropa vieja and others.

 

Eddys fave dish, el cerdo relleno la ropa vieja. CREDIT: Nestle.

 

What is your personal mission?

My main mission is to develop the work of the significance of Cuban cuisine and safeguard our gastronomic legacy.

Can you tell us what you are most excited about right now?

Our main mission now is to declare our CUBAN cuisine as intangible heritage, this is what I am most excited about.

Can you tell us about any farmers you work with, from who you buy your ingredients?

We buy the ingredients such as the spices, fruits and vegetables for the kitchen from the farmers directly as well as in local markets.

Any experiences on tourists' appreciation about Cuban cuisine?

What tourists most appreciate are the different influences of Cuban cuisine, such as the Spanish, African, Chinese, French, Mexican American and others. The tourists like the natural taste of our food which uses many natural and organic ingredients.

 

RECIPES BELOW:

*Mojo is any sauce that is made with garlic, olive oil or pork lard, and a citrus juice, traditionally bitter orange juice.

 

CONGRI

Ingredients:

304 g of rice

76 g. of red beans

460 ml. of water

24 g. of smoked bacon (Bacon)

30 ml. of oil

232 g. of salsa criolla

Laurel to taste

Oregano to taste

Cumin ground to taste

Salt to taste

Preparation:

Choose, wash and soak the beans with the indicated water, and refrigerate in 12 hours.

Cook with the same water of soaking, sauté the bacon pieces in the oil, add the spices and the Creole sauce, let cook 2 or 3 minutes.

Add this sauce to the beans when they soften.

Wash the rice and add the beans, stir, when it starts to boil, cover and leave the kitchen until its completion

Garnishing:

Add the chopped peppers to the julienne.

                                                        

MOROS Y CRISTIANOS

(Black beans and rice)

                                                  

Ingredients:

304 g of rice

76 g. of black beans

460 ml. of water

24 g. of bacon (smoked bacon)

80 g. of onion

30 ml. of oil

60 g. of peppers

4 g. of ground oregano

1 bay leaf

8 g. of garlic

4 g. of ground cumin

 Salt to taste

Preparation:

Choose and wash the beans, soak them with the indicated water for 10 to 12 hours approximately. Put in refrigerator.

Cook on moderate heat with the same water of soaking.

Chop the bacon, peel and chop the onion and peppers.

Finely chop the garlic.

In a suitable bowl, heat the oil and fry the bacon, garlic, onion and chili.

Add oregano, cumin, laurel.

Incorporate the soft beans with the broth of the cooking, pinch of salt.

Wash the rice and add when it breaks to boil, stir. When it starts to boil again cook for 20 minutes.

 

PICADILLO A LA CRIOLLA

(Cuban-style Creole Ground Beef)

Ingredients:

600 g. of beef

348 g. of salsa criolla

30 ml. of oil

40 ml. dry wine

60 g. of red pepper

40 g. from petit pois

4 g. of chopped parsley

Black pepper ground to taste

Salt to taste

Preparation:

Clean the meat, grind by the medium blade of the grinding machine, season with salt and pepper.

Sauté in a pan with hot oil, add the wine, then add the Creole sauce. Cook for 5 minutes, approximately, to mold the picadillo.

It can be garnished with ripe bananas and fried egg on top of the white rice next to the picadillo. Also garnish with red peppers and petit pois on top of the meat, and chopped parsley.

 

MASA DE CERDO FRITAS

(Cuban Fried Pork Chunks)

Ingredients:

625 g. of clean pork

10 g. of garlic

30 ml. of orange juice

144 ml. oil

Black pepper ground to taste

Salt to taste

Preparation:

Cut the pork into pieces of 5 centimeters in size.

Season with salt and pepper, place in a pan with a thick bottom with not very hot oil, until softened.

Increase the volume of the fire until it browns.

Peel and crush the garlic, mix with orange juice and add 30 grams of hot oil from the fry.

Remove the meat from the fat, drain well and drizzle with the garlic.

 

CHICKEN ADOBADO AND FRITO TO LA CRIOLLA

(Cuban Fried Chicken)                                   

Ingredients:

1000 g of chickens (semi-boned)

180 g. of wheat flour

116 g. of mojo to marinate

116 g. of onion mojo

4 g. of chopped parsley

500 ml of oil for frying

White pepper to taste

Salt to taste

Preparation:

Cut the chickens by the loin in two halves, half-bone, season with salt and pepper, marinate, for 2 or 3 hours with mojo to marinate (Salt, Pepper, lemon and garlic).

Drain, go through the wheat flour.

Fry with hot oil on both sides, (fry first with the part of the skin down and after turning brown).

Serve with onion mojo on top, sprinkle with chopped parsley.

 

MARIQUITA DE PLÁTANO

Ingredients:

292 g. plantain

60ml of oil

Salt to taste

Preparation:

Remove the bananas from the husks; go through a manual or electric device to get the thin slices. Place the slices in oil fat with heat of 110 ° C, for 8 minutes.

During that time, work with a slotted spoon to avoid them joining together through the cooking process.

Remove and drain. Season.

 

TAMAL EN CAZUELA CON CARNE DE CERDO

Ingredients:

500 g of sweet corn flour

500 g of pork

116 ml. of oil

232 g. of salsa criolla

3 g. of ground cumin

250 ml. of white broth or water

White pepper ground to taste

Salt to taste

Preparation:

Mix the flour with the broth or water at room temperature.

Strain through a Chinese colander.

Cut the pork into pieces of 4 cms. Season with salt and pepper.

Fry in hot oil until brown and cook well.

Add to the flour, add the sauce, the cumin and the rest of the salt and pepper, mix well.

Cook over low heat until set by stirring with a wooden spoon or other unalterable material.

Serve in a deep dish.