Chef’s Corner with Vicente del Rio of Frida
Frida Mexican Cuisine in Beverly Hills, California is the pride and joy of Owner/Chef Vicente Del Rio. Chef Vicente’s passion for offering authentic Mexican cuisine, based on time-honored, classic techniques and founded on traditional family recipes is quite evident. Frida has been an instant hit among Angelenos, since its opening in 2002, and is celebrated for its exemplary hospitality, straightforward Mexican cuisine, and neighborly, approachable vibe.
Vicente Del Rio was born and raised in Mexico City. The son of a businessman father and a homemaker mother, he developed a passion for food at an early age. Del Rio’s mother, an expert cook, would create meals for their family using recipes passed down through generations. These experiences fostered Del Rio’s appreciation for the cuisine of his homeland and the traditional manner in which it is prepared.
journeyPod had a chance to chat with this culinary genius:
What culture, other than Mexican, has influenced your flavors and recipes?
Italian. I love cooking with olive oil and cooking light. For example, I love fish. When I cook fish, I simply use some onion, olive oil, and maybe some potatoes.
What’s your favorite ingredient?
Consomme–it gives more flavor than salt.
What’s an upcoming trend in cooking?
The trend is, especially with Mexican food, to move away from the perception that Mexican food is cheap, inexpensive. Many Americans believe this because of Taco Bell, Rio Grande, chain fast food places. I fight a cultural battle. Chicken tacos in a nice, upscale Mexican restaurant will be $10 vs the ones at Taco Bell ones you can buy for much less. Authentic does not equal cheap.
What is the most unique ingredient you have ever cooked with?
Agave worms. Gusanos de Maguey and Escamoles. In Mexico they are considered a delicacy. We fry them add add them to tortillas. They are only in season maybe three months out of the year. We cannot import them to the States, so if you would like to taste them, you must go to Mexico!
Where did you come up with the name Frida?
I read a book about Frida Kahlo, and I was inspired.
On your night off, where do you go to eat in Los Angeles?
I like steakhouses. Maestro’s is my favorite.
In the six years since its opening, Frida Mexican Cuisine has stayed true to its mission to bring authentic, high-quality Mexican cuisine to Southern California. Named for Frida Kahlo, one of the most celebrated personalities in Mexican culture, and a culinarian in her own right, Frida’s four locations provide diners with pan-Mexican cuisine as it is enjoyed today-a blend of modern regional specialties and ancient flavors dating back to the Maya. From the Sopa de Tortilla to the Flan Napolitano, all of Frida’s food is prepared from scratch and features ingredients sourced from Mexico, with a complexity and fine caliber rarely encountered stateside. The brainchild of Vicente Del Rio, each of Frida’s locations provides diners with an elegant and festive experience evocative of the real Mexico, in Southern California. Frida Beverly Hills is located at 236 S. Beverly Dr. in Beverly Hills.
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