Television personality, chef, attorney, food editor and cookbook author Ana Quincoces is the “Sazon Completa” of celebrity chefs.
She adds just the right amount of spice to all of her endeavors: whether in the courtroom or sitting courtside next to Colicchio and Bourdain before an all night cooking bender, (about which she mused during the interview); dishing with her gorgeous daughters or dressing to the nines for one of the many philanthropic events she supports.
This chic, “Cuban chick,” voted Miami’s Hottest chef (Eater 2011) brings the mojo and a few laughs as she shares her experiences, upcoming projects and involvement in this year’s South Beach Wine and Food Festival.
How did you transition from law to cooking and cookbook authorship?
I have always been passionate about cooking. My first book Cuban Chicks Can Cook was written as a legacy for my daughters and in an effort to keep authentic Cuban food alive. Sort of like a modern day Nitza Villapol. None of this fusion stuff! The transition came as a result of the demise in the Florida real estate market. After practicing real estate law for almost 20 years, I viewed the lull in my business as the perfect opportunity to segue into a new career.
Outside of your family- who has inspired your cooking career?
Nigella Lawson- unbeknownst to her.
Who is your favorite Food Network personality?
What's the first dish you ever made?
Chicken a L' Orange and it was inedible.
What are your favorite dishes to cook/eat (if different)?
Anything braised or cooked low and slow. I love how it fills my house with the aroma of home cooking.
How do you stay in shape?
Pilates and spinning but they are no match for my insatiable sweet tooth, hence the booty.
What's your "death row" meal?
Joe's stone crabs, onion rings, carrot cake, and diet ginger ale.
For whom would you love to cook? What would you make?
I would love to casually bump into Anthony Bourdain and Tom Colicchio at a Heat game where I would just happen to be sitting (floor seats) next to them. I would invite them over after the game and we would cook together using only the ingredients in my fridge and pantry. I've given this no thought at all. (laughs)
Tell me about The Versailles Cookbook and Cuban Chicks Can Cook and Sabor.
The success of Cuban Chicks Can Cook got the attention of Running Press and I was offered the opportunity to write Sabor. I was later commissioned to write The Versailles Cookbook as a result of my expertise in the Cuban cooking arena and because I knew the family so well that I was in a perfect position to tell their incredible story - since I had seen it evolve over the decades.
What are your favorite recipes in them?
I think my favorite recipes in my books have to be the arroz con pollo, the ropa vieja, and the empanadas de chorizo.
What's your involvement with SOBEWFF?
I am participating in several SOBEWFF events. I am co-hosting a midnight brunch with Chef Art Smith on Friday night at The Raleigh Hotel, sponsored by Goya. I am participating in the Fun and Fit event at Jungle Island along with Chef Robert Irvine, sponsored by Transitions Lenses and the ADA as well as the Swine and Wine on Sunday at The Biltmore. Finally, Terry Zarikian and I are auctioning off a dinner/cooking lesson and wine pairing (by Southern Wine and Spirits) at my home for 8 guests.