IN THE KITCHEN WITH CHRIS GONZALEZ
Tell us about yourself:
Hello, my name is Chris Gonzalez, I was born and raised in Miami, Florida and I’m a Certified Holistic Health Coach, Natural Foods Chef and the Founder & CEO of Miami Wellness Club ®, South Florida’s Premier Guide to Healthy Living ™.
How did you get involved in cooking?
As the saying goes, good food brings people together! Ever since I was a young boy, I was surrounded by family members who loved the kitchen. Through my grandmothers and parents cooking (Cuban, Dominican & Spanish roots), I learned the importance of making food from scratch, using high quality ingredients and most importantly doing it with love, the secret ingredient in all meals.
Describe your cooking style:
As a natural food’s chef, my cooking style is organic, holistic, gourmet – global culinary cuisine, using local and seasonal ingredients. Pulling from my international travel and living experiences in the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Peru, Spain and Cuba I’ve seen firsthand how cooking takes many different forms and every method has its place, but for me grilling has my heart. Nothing compares to the char of a roasted eggplant for creamy babaganoush, the crispy crust of a salted grass-fed ribeye, or the flaky skin of a whole wild caught Mediterranean branzino glazed with olive oil. It’s truly ancestral, using only the essential, allowing the natural flavors to come through.
How did you learn about grass-fed meats?
As I embarked on my food journey many years ago, I first learned about the farming practices of confined animal factory operations (CAFO) through the film Food, Inc. which eventually led me to begin researching the root cause of unsustainable agriculture and the importance of raising animals as nature intended, on organic grasses (hence a cow’s four stomachs) and not on genetically modified corn and soy, which causes them to be sick and eventually treated with antibiotics that end up in the meat. Sunlight, fresh air and green open pastures are where healthy animals belong, helping to produce nutrient dense food. This is the perfect original design that benefits us all – land, animals, and people – we were all created to thrive.
You’re stranded on a desert island; luckily, you’re stranded with your top 5 ingredients and one must-have kitchen tool:
Sounds like quite the adventure and right up my alley! I would go with a sharp kitchen knife and the following five ingredients: pure sea salt, organic extra virgin olive oil, raw honey, pasture raised eggs and coconuts.
Best cooking secret / tip / piece of advice you’ve learned:
Love is the secret ingredient, pour your soul into the kitchen.
What’s your favorite quote / song for culinary inspiration (if any)?
I’m a big fan of pairing globally inspired cuisine with the music of that particular country. For example, if I’m cooking italian food I like to listen to Cantoma, it sets the mood and transports you instantly. During times like these, it’s the quickest way to travel and experience a country from the comforts of your own home.
Anything else you want to share?
The kitchen is an entire universe waiting to be explored and at times it can feel scary to not know where to start. My advice is, commit to trying one new recipe a week and get those whom you cook for involved in the entire process. The more connected you become to your food, the land, the farmers, the animals and the natural cycles of life, the more enhanced your life experience will be.
Enter To Win!
Enter to win our December 2020 Natural Foods Featured Chef Contest for a chance to win $150 bundle of farm fresh food. Contest runs from December 1 – 13, 2020.