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Chef Roberto Treviño shot into U.S. culinary consciousness with his unique, push-the-envelope style of Nuevo Latino cooking on the “Next Iron Chef” competition on Food Network. The California-born chef became fascinated with the kitchen as a young cook in the San Francisco Bay area. The opening of the El Conquistador Resort brought him to Puerto Rico, where he fell in love with the flavors of the island. He is the chef-owner at Budatai, in San Juan’s Condado area.
Last year, he competed in the “Next Iron Chef” competition. Prior to that, he had battled the great chef Mario Batali on “Iron Chef America,” and has made numerous television appearances both in Puerto Rico and in the U.S. and been praised by The New York Times for his role in the "renaissance of Puerto Rican cuisine."
Here are Hispanic Kitchen's 10 questions for Treviño.
HK: What is your culinary point of view?
RT: As a Latino chef, I like to cook traditional Latin dishes while giving them a modern play on use of ingredients and techniques.
HK: Best thing you ever ate (and where)?
RT: My mother’s homemade flour tortillas … in her kitchen.
HK: Favorite ingredient to cook with?
HK: If you had to choose: sweet or salty?
HK: What is your idea of comfort food?
RT: While living up north it was a big bowl of Menudo. Now that I live in Puerto Rico it’s Arroz Blanco a Caballo.
HK: Do you eat what you cook or do you cook what you eat?
RT: I eat what I cook.
HK: Favorite snack?
RT: Wasabi peas.
HK: What’s next on your culinary to-do list?
RT: Opening a new restaurant in Puerto Rico (whose name I will keep secret…stay tuned), write a cookbook and search New York or Madrid for locations to expand my culinary vision.
HK: Who/what inspired you to become a chef?
RT: “The Great Chefs” series on PBS turned me on to being a chef.
HK: If you weren’t a chef, what would you be doing?
RT: A movie director or a bullfighter (is there still time?) ;-)
Find Chef Treviño at Budatai
1056 Ashford Avenue
San Juan, Puerto Rico 0090