Foodservice > Chef's Table
Douglas Rodriguez is regarded as the inventor of Nuevo Latino cuisine and one of America’s most honored chefs. As executive chef and owner of both Alma de Cuba in Philadelphia and Deseo at the Westin Kierland Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, Arizona, Chef Rodriguez recently opened OLA (Of Latin America). Through his innovative and exciting culinary style, Chef Rodriquez has brought a blend of traditional and cutting edge Latin foods to the New York, Miami, Philedelphia, and Phoenix dining scenes.
Chef Rodriguez is also the author of four cookbooks including The Great Ceviche Book that reveals his mastery of ceviches. One key ceviche recipe Chef Rodriguez shared recently, exemplifies the ability of Kikkoman Soy Sauce to bring out the natural flavors and freshness of ingredients.
“I really like folding Kikkoman Soy Sauce in with citrus juices, like in my Chino Latino Beef Tenderloin Ceviche. It brings out the flavor of the dish. I like to use soy sauce in its natural state – in its purest form, I don’t like to cook it down or reduce it. Sometimes you just want to add a little soy sauce to something to wake up the flavor.”
Although he specializes in Latin cuisine, Chef Rodriguez recognizes how ingredients and techniques have blurred the lines of cultures and foods from various regions of the world.
“It would be difficult to say when the first time soy sauce was used in Latin cooking. There has been a big influx of Asians in Latin America, especially in Peru, where ceviche originated. Throughout Peru ‘chifas’ serve a cuisine which is a blend of Peruvian and Asian flavors, with dishes that are a fusion of traditional fare like fried rice mixed with Peruvian sausage and peppers.”
“Soy sauce doesn’t necessarily mean an Asian ingredient anymore. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a kitchen that didn’t have soy sauce. It just seems like a natural ingredient to have next to your other mainstay kitchen ingredients.”
For over a decade, Chef Rodriguez has created the perfect recipe for building successful and cutting-edge restaurants with menus featuring fresh, authentic dishes. Building on his education at Johnson & Wales University, Chef Rodriguez began his professional career in Miami. In 1994 he opened New York’s Patria, garnering three stars from The New York Times in 1996. Awards and honors include the Chefs of America Award (1991), Culinary Master of North America and New York Award (1994), The James Beard Foundation’s “Rising Star Chef Award” (1996), and a nomination for Beard’s 1999 Best Chef: New York.
We thank Chef Rodriguez for sharing his views on the blending world cuisine and the role that soy sauce can play in Latin American cuisine.