Back in June, as I was browsing through Puerto Rico Eats’ emails, one inmediately stood out. It was from a woman named Megan, who claimed to be the production assistant on a food, travel and genealogy show called Family Ingredients. Her request was simple, she wanted recommendations on must visit restaurants, local chefs, as well as, places to visit here in Puerto Rico. I was immediately skeptical since in I have heard about so many internet scams that I thought it sounded to good to be true. So, I did what any other paranoid person would do and I googled them. After confirming that everything was legit, I immediately got in contact with Megan and put myself at her disposal for anything they might need during their trip to Puerto Rico.
Family Ingredients is not your typical show about food. It centers on connecting family and culture through food. The premise is simple, to trace back cherished family dishes to their origins. The show is hosted by the Hawaiian Chef Ed Kenney and each episode connects a different prominent Hawaiian with their roots. This particular episode featured Tiara Hernandez, a young woman born and raised in Hawaii, whose father is Puerto Rican and whose mother is from the Philippines. As I later came to find out, she is also Bruno Mars’ sister. Of course I had no idea, since I had did not know who the talent of the show was going to be until I met them here in Puerto Rico.
They landed in Puerto Rico on a Sunday and had five days to film and absorb as much of our culture as possible. They had already told me what dish they wanted to feature on the show (its a SECRET!), which is common and popular both in Hawaii and Puerto Rico, and requested that I hook them up with a local chef who could perform a gourmet take on the same. I had just the man for the job: Chef Raúl Correa from Zest. First, we took them to the gorgeous rooftop bar/lounge Mist at the San Juan Water & Beach Club Hotel were they filmed Chef Raúl preparing the dish. Then we headed down to Zest for more filming and a mouthwatering four course lunch that Chef Raúl prepared for the cast and crew. Our next stop was Gallo Negro where Chef Maria T. Mercedes Grubb demonstrated her version of the dish.
After filming wrapped up in Gallo Negro, we took a quick break before heading out to enjoy the Puerto Rican nightlife. I decided to take the whole cast and crew barhopping in Old San Juan. Chef Raúl and Chef Maria also came along for the ride. Our first stop was at no other than one of the World’s 50 Best Bars, La Factoria, were we enjoyed delicious cocktails crafted by one of their amazing mixologists Misael Morales. We then crossed the street to Taberna del Lúpulo for local beers and shots. Then we headed to El Farolito before ending the night salsa dancing at the Nuyorican Café. For details on what when down that night you will just have to watch the show. It was definitely a night to remember, although by the end of the night things got a little blurry after all the cocktails, drinks and shots. Hahaha.
The whole cast and crew were simply a pleasure to be around. I felt extremely honored that they trusted me to guide them here in Puerto Rico. Chef Ed, Tiara, Megan, Ty, Christian, Renea and Christina are all amazing people and very passionate about what they do. So I guarantee you are in for a treat with this episode. Family Ingredients featuring Puerto Rico is scheduled to air in the summer of 2016. To find out what the secret dish is, make sure you check out the show, I promise you will be as surprised as I was. You might also catch a glimpse of me in it.