Ingrid Hoffmann has built a large following around her Delicioso brand – she’s the lovely host of a popular TV show on the Cooking Channel and Univision, the creative director of a Latin-influenced cooking line and a best-selling cookbook author. Ingrid shares her go-to recipes for entertaining, tips for healthy eating habits from her new cookbook Latin D’Lite and her favorite Miami eats.
AndrewZimmern.com: How has your childhood in Colombia and Curaçao influenced your cooking style?
Ingrid Hoffmann: [My childhood] has absolutely influenced my cooking in every way, from the Caribbean flavors of Curaçao to the Indonesian flavors of Holland and the vastly different regional cuisines of Colombia, which vary from Andean-style in the mountain cities to Afro-Caribbean flavor on the coast. To this mix, add the fact that that my grandparents were Bolivian and my mother trained at the Cordon Bleu in France, so I grew up in a house with an eclectic mix of food that I guess today you would call global cuisine.
I grew up eating food from everywhere. I had never heard of a kids’ menu, that just did not exist then, so I was always used to an open and adventurous palate and way of eating. It explains why all my school friends thought we ate strange.
AZ.com: What role does food play in Latin American culture? What are the major differences in the US?
IH: Home-cooked food from scratch and daily meals at the table is what our lives revolve around, not to mention the weekly family gatherings and fiestas. Life is not only about work, the rat race and over-achieving. Even lunch during the work week is sacred and most would not know to eat at a desk in an office.
AZ.com: How did you break into the food TV world? What’s your mission with Simply Delicioso?
IH: I started working in my mother’s catering and restaurant business as a child, helping out and as a means to make money in the summers and on the weekends as a teenager. I learned a lot very early on this way. I never planned on making it a career but when my mother decided to move to Miami to be near me, we decided to open up Rocca, our restaurant in Coconut Grove, and so this next chapter began here in America. My mission with Simply Delicioso was to show America that Latin food was very vast and diverse (and that Mexican food was not the only Latin food). I never set out to build a brand that I now sold to possibly the biggest media conglomerate in the United States today, Univision Communications. I helped them develop their entire food brand across all their platforms–TV, radio, mobile, newspapers, etc.–and have stayed on as creative director for the brand in charge of designing the housewares and cookware lines and products.
AZ.com: Latin D’Lite is your third cookbook on Latin American cuisine. How do these recipes stand out?
IH: Latin D’Lite is perhaps closest to my heart for very personal reasons. It is how I eat at home. It also is how I curbed my binge eating and food addiction, something I have struggled with for most of my life. I was a complete emotional eater and since guilt always played a factor after binging, I would embark on every single diet invented to man and supplement it with diet pills. Of course none of that worked for me, until one day fed up and after much research and therapy, I decided I needed to eat in a way that didn’t feel like dieting, that way I could not fall off the wagon. And so Latin D’Lite has delicious recipes that are light without feeling like diet food–tacos are not necessarily in lettuce leaves and chicken is not grilled with 3 lettuce leaves on the side. It is about reducing processed ingredients and eating from scratch, plus fast, great tricks for pantry and freezer items for quick meals. I make sauces out of veggies, natural fruits, spices and herbs to give food flavor in a low-calorie way. Each chapter includes splurge/binge recipes as well for your 2-times-a-week meal indulgence, and it has cocktails and desserts. I am hoping that with his book people can start making these small changes that amount to lots in the end. It’s about easy lifestyle changes and finding balance.
AZ.com: What are the pillar ingredients in Latin American cuisine that every cook should have in the pantry?
IH: Every color bean, quinoa, chipotles and chiles, olives, tapenade, capers, anchovies, roasted peppers, tuna fish, organic tomatoes, organic low-sodium stocks, adobo spice blend, cumin, oregano, achiote, coconut milk, guava paste… Avocados are a must in my house always, frozen veggies, shrimp, fish and meats I always have on hand in freezer for a quick meal. Great Spanish olive oil and top-quality vinegars.
AZ.com: What are a few of your go-to recipes for entertaining?
AZ.com: Miami has a reputation for A-list restaurants touting velvet ropes and bouncers. What places are as much (or more) about the food than the scene?
AZ.com: Best restaurants for authentic Colombian cuisine?
IH: Monserrate, Patacon Pisao, although we still don’t have any of the modern gourmet Colombian restaurants here that we are seeing in the Bogota where high-end chef are making our Colombian food really modern, interesting and delicious.
AZ.com: What’s in your fridge?
IH: Avocados, Greek yogurt, Coconut milk, Colombian Juan Valdez coffee, eggs, hard boiled eggs for snacking, home-made sliced turkey, blueberries, Ezekiel bread, limes, lemons, oranges, papaya and mangoes.
Check out Ingrid’s recipe for Catalan Noodle Paella.
Ingrid Hoffmann (www.ingridhoffmann.com), professional eater and host of Simply Delicioso (Cooking Channel) and Delicioso (Univision), is passionate about food and entertaining and spends each day sharing her enthusiasm and talent with an international audience. In 2010, Ingrid partnered with Spanish media giant, Univision, to take her Delicioso brand to a new level. Hoffmann and Delicioso are featured in a range of cooking segments and capsules across Univision Networks, including popular morning show “Despierta America” and daytime show “Hoy,” as well as a online/mobile platform with Univision Delicioso (www.UnivisionDelicioso.com).
Ingrid’s loyal fan base in both the English and Spanish-speaking communities, has inspired her to publish her cookbooks in both languages. Ingrid’s most recent book is LATIN D’LITE : Delicious Latin Recipes with a Healthy Twist and LATIN D’LITE (Spanish edition): Deliciosas Recetas Latinas con un Toque Saludable. In contrast to other health-centric cookbooks, Ingrid reveals her easy and delicious go-to ingredients that turn bold and hearty Latin dishes into good for you meals with a side of splurge!
Her first best-selling cookbook SIMPLY DELICIOSO: A Collection of Everyday Recipes with Recetas Favoritas con Sabor Latino positioned Ingrid to be voted Flavors of Passion Chef of 2011 for her contribution to bringing awareness to the flavors of Latin America.
Ever the businesswoman, Ingrid has expanded her brand beyond television and partnered with Univision and top cookware and tableware manufacturer, Gibson, to develop a Latin-influenced line, Delicioso. As Creative Director of this new division, Ingrid is involved in every aspect of product development. Slated for consumer launch in third quarter of 2013, the line will feature a complete collection of cookware, table top, modern kitchen tools and accessories that are designed with the exquisite elements of color and celebrated patterns that are signature of Ingrid’s dynamic personality and Latin culture.
Ingrid’s fascination with food, cooking and style began as a little girl. She started cooking with her mother, a Cordon Bleu chef, at such a young age that she needed a stool to reach the stove. She discovered not only a love of cooking, but a flair for entertaining, and in no time developed her own distinctive style.
Raised in Colombia and Curaçao, Ingrid moved to Miami where she once owned a high fashion luxury boutique as well as the restaurant Rocca. Appearing regularly on local TV, Ingrid was noticed by Hearst Entertainment who signed her for her first cooking show, Delicioso with Ingrid Hoffmann, which initially launched in Latin America. In 2006, the show moved to the Spanish language network, Galavision. Ingrid’s English show, Simply Delicioso, premiered on the Food Network in 2007 and moved to the Cooking Channel in summer 2010. She writes a monthly column in Delta Sky Magazine and appears weekly on the #1 Spanish language morning show Despierta America. Ingrid has also made appearances on Ellen, Oprah, Martha Stewart, Regis & Kelly, The Today Show, The Early Show, and Good Morning America.
Ingrid’s success has afforded her the opportunity to give back to the community as a member New York City’s Food and Education Fund and Miami’s Amigos for Kids, as well as an active supporter of Manhattan’s Food and Finance High School, Believe for Colombia Foundation and the Humane Society of Greater Miami.