Hi, I’m Hugo
I am a food, music and life enthusiast who’s been surrounded by cuisine his entire life. I’ve lived in two food oriented countries, raised by a food focused family and got addicted to food as an area of study and teaching. Most of the year, I lived in in the wonderfully culturally mixed city of Elizabeth, NJ. During Summer, I lived in a small village outside of Castelo Branco, Portugal.
I guess you can say I’m a country bumpkin that isn’t afraid of the hood.
I cook food that has been inspired by growing up in the Portuguese country, living in a melting pot city and friends from all walks of life. I guess its a Multi-Cultural Fusion food anchored by restaurant style organization. I’ve worked in the kitchens of (and owned) some great pubs, read hundreds of cookbooks, eaten food from over 94 countries (and counting) and have a network of dozens of amazing food pros from all over the world. I love learning the “right way” to do a dish, then blending ingredients or techniques from two different cuisines.
My Food History
My relationship with cooking was apparent by the time I was in elementary school. I have memories of me reading the ingredients of packaged goods at the while eating, imagining some chef mixing all the stuff together in a commercial kitchen somewhere.
I realize now how weird of thing it is to zone out to while at the dinner table. Imagine the convo:
“Whatcha thinkin’ about?”
“Oh, just imagining Mr Chef rolling this Chef Boyardee meatball… ”
The first time I had my mind blown with food possibilities was in the martial arts. I attended a Christmas party for the school and tasted a sweet tasting chili that someone brought for the potluck. I was stunned! Who knew that chili can be sweet AND hot!? I got my first exposure to formal recipes in Home Economics at Elizabeth High School, which I credit to igniting my love for cooking. Thank you, Ms. White.
My understanding of food was built by farm animals, wood-burning ovens, asking thousands of questions, multi-ethnic friends and a culture that was heavily focused on raising what you eat. I was exposed to traditional agriculture, mountain game-hunting and beautiful landscapes filled with fruit trees in a country that led the Spice Trade. I watched two outspoken grandmothers bake bread and butcher pigs, a handful of aunts throw together holiday dinners for over a dozen people and parents cook daily meals that beat restaurant offers. My dad owned a restaurant in Sintra at the age of 16 then worked in the sector when he moved to the USA till I was in middle school. My best friends are American, Portuguese, Filipino, Salvadorean, Colombian, Cuban, Haitian, Brazilian, Italian and more. I’ve traveled and eat with a few famous buddies that tour the world. I have family in the USA, Portugal and France.
I argue, that my obsession with food was inevitable. Food has been a part of me since I was born.
Here I will share with you my passion and what I learned over the years through watching, testing, tasting, talking and researching. This blog will have recipes, reviews, interviews, tips in my zany way of doing things. I may even toss in a few language language lessons along the way. If you have any questions for me, just contact me here!