Silvia Martinez, winner of The Great American Recipe, interview
Crowned winner of the first season of The Great American Recipe, Silvia Martinez wowed the judges with her bold flavors in her traditional Mexican dishes. While the PBS Food TV Show captivated viewers with the stories that flavored the recipes, the idea of the American melting pot shows that food is the universal language. During a recent conversation with Silvia, she revealed how her food connects her to the past, present and future.
Viewers have connected with The Great American Recipe on many levels. Whether it was a new take on Friday night family programming or enjoying the richness of flavors that influence American cuisine, the culinary competition was more than just a crowning of a winner. It was an invitation to sit down and have a conversation about food and culture.
While viewers were drawn to Silvia Martinez and her Mexican kitchens, the food blogger has been sharing her food story online for years. During her conversation with FoodSided, Silvia shared how her writing turned into a way of chronicling her family’s history. Since no one had actually written down these recipes and traditions, she looked for ways to ensure there was an archive in the future. From there, other cooking enthusiasts were eager to read his work and cook with it.
For example, Silvia told how her grandmother made a special salad every Christmas. For her, this dish wasn’t just the flavor of the season, it brings back memories of all the women in the kitchen sharing stories, laughing and enjoying time together. This feeling may not be an ingredient in the recipe, but it added flavor to the dish. Sometimes the memory of usability is just as important as the technical part of the recipe.
As Silvia told it, it’s a story that many people can enjoy. Similar to the concepts seen on The Great American Recipe, these are the traditions that bring people to the kitchen and to the table.
Looking back on her The Great American Recipe experience, Silvia discovered throughout the competition that she had learned from her fellow competitors. Although each person has their specific flavor preferences, it was obvious that there are similarities in the food offerings.
Silvia remembered a dish of fried eggs her mother made with salsa and avocado. She saw how this recipe related to Foo’s rice dishes with fried eggs. The flavors were different but the concept of a fried egg adding to the scrumptious flavor was clear.
Although Silvia is more comfortable with Mexican cuisine, she is ready to branch out into other flavors. Whether it’s the Mediterranean flavors of Robin or the Asian spices of Foo, it shows that The Great American Recipe is all about finding commonalities between food and culture.
Still, since many fans of the PBS show The Great American Recipe rave about cooking with the recipes featured in the cooking contest, Silvia offered some simple tips for getting started incorporating versatile flavors into a variety of dishes.
While some people may be familiar with the holy trinity in southern cuisine or mirepoix, Mexican dishes often feature tomatoes, onions, and a serrano pepper. This simple concept can be used with many proteins. Once a cook has mastered this basic flavor combination, they can build on it.
Additionally, Silvia shared an idea for a food staple that can help home cooks feel more comfortable cooking Mexican-inspired recipes. For example, she recommended having chipotle peppers on hand. This smoky quality can enhance many recipes. More importantly, Silvia said even a little bit of chipotle can make a difference in the dish, even for people who are mildly spice averse.
Although Silvia was inspired by classic and comforting Mexican recipes during the cooking competition, she mentioned that she would not change what she does or how she does it. She felt that each of the dishes, even if one or two weren’t perfect, reflected her culinary point of view. It told his story.
Although she was crowned winner of The Great American Recipe, Silvia considers the win part of her culinary history. Cooking with your family, maintaining these food traditions and inspiring others to share their culinary heritage is important. It looks like there will be a lot more opportunities for her to inspire others to get into the kitchen, cook, and make memories.
Silvia Martinez, winner of Season 1 of The Great American Recipe, has her recipes featured in the PBS show’s companion cookbook. Also, Silvia’s blog, Latina mom adviceoffers many recipes as well as cooking tips.