I started cooking at age 5 years old. Growing up in a single-family home, where my mother had to work, it forced me to find a love for the kitchen, I taught myself to make tacos to a whole turkey. Yes, I made a whole thanksgiving dinner at 7 years old.
The most exciting part of running and cooking at Patacon Pisao, is seeing people’s faces when they first bite into a Patacon and Cachapa for the first time. We get customers from all over the world from Africa to India, they eat plantains and have never seen a sandwich like the Patacon before.
Opening Pataon Pisao was one of the more challenging things we’ve done. It took us almost 6 months to finally open Patacon Pisao Lower East Side. Due to the gas line Con Ed kept us in the air. These were some of darkest days in my life. I thought my dreams to opening a restaurant downtown would never come true.
The first time I actually walked into an industrial kitchen I was 10 years old. At this time, my mother was working in an Italian restaurant on 5th avenue. I learned the basics, from washing veggies to chopping to mixing (all for free). I really enjoyed it. It wasn’t child labor.
My teen years I contained to cook at home; watching the food network from Bobby to Mario - these guys were my gods. I would make many of their plates at home for my brother and mother. I became a master with knives.
My college years I learned to cook the American classics from wings to steamed clams. I would cook for over 100 guys since I was in a fraternity at the University at Buffalo. All while working at Patacon Pisao Truck and Patacon Pisao Queens during my breaks.
Peeling plantains isn’t like peeling potatoes! It takes lots of manpower and time. Some customers believe we have a machine that does it. I wish.
You know what makes me proud? When I see huge groups of people walking into our restaurant day after day saying they are “plantain heaven” and “my favorite sandwich in NYC hands down” “I grew up eating plantains but never seen this before, I’m telling everyone I know”
I want to how the world that plantains can be the next bread. This Venezuelan classic can also be the next American classic.