Food Royalty: Q&A With Zarela Martinez

What is your favorite memory of cooking with your son?

After he decided to go into the food business, he made us pork chops with plums. It was his debut meal. That was the moment when I realized that talent is inherited. When he was young I would take him to work with me at Café Marimba and he would help out at the pastry station. As a teen he went to work with my mentor, Paul Prudhomme, for a summer and he truly found his calling.


What would you say is the main difference in your culinary philosophies?

I would say that one difference is that I am a restaurateur and he is a TV personality. Aaron is not able to spend as much time cooking in the restaurant as he would like to because he is so busy with filming, and often the cooking he does is for events and shows. Another is that our approaches are very different. My food tends to be more traditionally Mexican while Aarón's is more modern.


What is your son's favorite dish that you cook?

Arroz con Crema, it has always been his favorite. He also loves when I make Sopa Seca.


What is your favorite dish that Aaron cooks?

I like his short ribs a lot.


Are there any recipes for dishes that you won't tell your son the secrets to?

No. I believe that food is about sharing. We used to share more when he was first coming up as a chef, but now he is more grown up and he needs to develop on his own. He is still discovering his culture and using the more traditional recipes.


Is there anything (ingredients or dishes) that your son prepares better than you?

He is better at presentation.


Click here for Food Royalty: Q&A with Cedric Vongerichten.

Click here for Food Royalty: Q&A with Marc Forgione.