From Maine to Portugal with Chef George Mendes

Learning the art of Spanish and Portuguese cooking from Chef George Mendes at the New York Culinary Experience.
Staff Writer
Courtesy of Larry Busacca/ Getty Images

Chef George Mendes of NYC's Aldea

Courtesy of Larry Busacca/ Getty Images

The lucky people who took George Mendes’ class on Spanish and Portuguese cuisine at the New York Culinary Experience learned and ate a lot. An energetic, engaging and passionate chef, Mendes artfully translates restaurant cooking for the home chef; his class was filled with the intoxicating scent of garlic, tomatoes, shrimp and intermittent practical tips, all of which could be taken home.

Running from one pan to another, adding a few rounds of olive oil, and stopping briefly to teach someone how to form a claw with her hand while chopping onions, he paused in front of the simmering and aromatic shrimp heads to extoll the importance of seasoning throughout the entire cooking process: “Taste, Taste, Taste” he proclaimed, throughout every stage and then re-season again as needed. Another piece of shared wisdom: Buy a rubber spatula. It’s perfect for scraping bits from the sides of the pan.

Mendes made some of the most popular dishes at his restaurant Aldea, highlighting prominent Spanish and Porteguese ingredients like saffron, pimentón, garlic and, of course, olive oil.

Click here to see his recipe for Maine Lobster 'Suada'

Click here to see his recipe for Shrimp 'Alhinho'

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