“Life is what you make it. I stopped a career in healthcare to pursue what I love”.........C
Our day started with relaxing at the pool, but ended with a lunch at the buffet with such a wonderful couple Chef Joanne Torres (aka) Chef JoJo and her husband. We could not stop listening to the great dishes that she describes with such passion, that it almost feels like you can taste it. Not to mention that we love love and these two were so connected that the energy felt contagious. Chef Joanne is not only beautiful, she is an inspirational woman with a sweet personality and that’s what she brings to any feast, along with her delicious meals that would keep you licking your fingers. She’s one Latina that can cook anything, from Caribbean food to Mediterranean and many more cuisines. Her beautifully handwritten interview just added a little extra and really touched my heart. I’m sure you would agree, and if her pics aren’t enough, hire her for your next event so you can get the full effect of her delicious cuisine.
What do you remember about cooking as a child?
I grew up in “El Barrio” Manhattan an area in New York City that is pretty much surrounded with Spanish foods. Because both our parents worked, my mom taught us basic things to cook.
What made you want to become a chef?
What attracted me to become a chef, was my love for food. After working in the health care industry for over 20 years, I have always enjoyed entertaining and seeing everyone enjoy what I would cook. Then I just decided to quit my job and cook full time.
Where or how did you learn your skill?
Trial and error. I learned by seeing a recipe, making it, then tweaking it to my taste.
Who are your favorite chefs, what makes them your favorite?
I don’t really have a favorite, except for my mom. I like to take a recipe from ordinary individuals like myself who have that passion.
Your food looks absolutely delicious every single time. Where do you get your inspiration from and how do you think you are connecting with the people?
I love Caribbean foods. I find that the ingredients that are used have so much flavor. Nowadays, people are not enjoying home cooked meals, because no one has time to cook. Fast food has been on the rise , so when people ask me to cook for them, they know they are getting authentic flavors. I take pride in buying ingredients for my foods.
Who or what event would you love to cook for, your dream experience?
I would love to cook for investors interested in me. My favorite meal would be cooking dinner.
What are your top 5 ingredients in Caribbean cooking?
Sofrito (homemade), cilantro, Jamaican spices, garlic and adobo.
What advice would you give a younger person that is interested in becoming a chef?
As I tell my granddaughter Skylyn, whose 7 years old, who also preps and cooks with me, try all different kinds of foods so that you can train your palate.
Everyone has a signature dish that they are known for, even people that cook out of their homes. You know the one that your family makes you bring to the BBQ. Even though we know everything you cook is amazing, what’s your signature dish?
My signature dish is Arroz con gandules, Pernil con tostones y mojito.
What other talents do you have?
I can also knit, garden, paint and do accounting .
What is life to you?
Life is what you make it. I stopped a career in healthcare to pursue what I love. Life also included my wonderful best friend and husband, our son and our wonderful grandchildren.
Do you have anything coming up, that we should look out for or any future goals?
I‘ve applied to be a contestant on several cooking shows, so hopefully you’ll see me there.
5 shot questions
Name a movie that would describe you.
City of Angels, starring Nicolas Cage
If you were a superhero what would be your power?
What’s your favorite movie?
The Godfather (all three)
If you can master s skill that you don’t have right now, what will it be?
Designer and Party Planning, because it will still allow me to create beauty.
Besides cooking what’s the one thing you never get bored of?
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