Fred is a chef at a restaurant in NYC who shares weekly guides on what he’s cooking at home. These meals include everything from intricate, multi-day recipes to simple breakfasts.
We look forward to Fred’s guides every week and have come to expect beautiful pictures, random scenes from his subway rides and most of all, delicious food. We were excited to finally learn a little more about him in the interview below.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I live in New York City but I’m originally from Porto, Portugal. I work in a professional kitchen as a chef.
Why did you start using Snapguide?
Often time people ask me what I had for dinner because of my profession and heritage. At times, it can be quite challenging to explain a foreign dish from another culture, especially how to prepare it. The discovery of Snapguide allowed me to very easily share what I do and how I do it. One of the first guides I did was to record how I prepared patatas arrugadas so I could share the recipe with a friend. To my pleasant surprise, a good chunk of people (outside of my friends) also seemed to enjoy the guide; so I just kept doing it. It became a very rewarding process to discover that other people were trying my recipes in their homes. Food brings people together and ultimately it makes everyone happy.
To me, the beauty of cooking and eating is that every single person has a unique palette – you like it spicier and your friend likes it sweeter – which makes the cooking process simpler, because you don’t really need to use recipes when you are customizing a dish for yourself. Even though using a strict recipe is a fool-proof method, it can be stressful to measure every ingredient to a tee. It’s not something most people want to do after a busy day at work. And lets face it, It’s a lot easier to order dinner online when it’s just a few clicks away. It’s without complications and you don’t need to sharpen knives, clean the pans or question yourself if it is good enough for friends or family at the dinner table.
The primary purpose of doing the guides is still to illustrate how I prepare certain dishes, but the real purpose is to get people to cook at home.
When did you first start cooking and when did you know it was something you wanted to do professionally?
I have always had a deep connection to my culinary heritage. I never paid much attention to cooking in my early days when I apprenticed under my mother in the kitchen of our family restaurant. I do have very fond memories of our bustling kitchen, where the counters were typically piled with fresh produce picked that day by my grandfather from our family garden. Those were truly some of the best times I spent with my family and moments in life I’d like to preserve. Later on in life I realized that I could never be too far away from the world of food. A professional career in gastronomy was my way to connect with my heritage, which ultimately became my passion.
What was the first thing you cooked?
Scrambled eggs. I still remember adding milk to those dried scramble eggs in an effort to make them moister. It was a complete disaster. Even though it was a family tradition to know how to cook, when I first started culinary school that was pretty much all I knew – dried scramble eggs with warm milk broth.
How do you get inspiration for what to share on Snapguide?
The guides are actually my breakfast, lunch or dinner during my days off. They are dishes I prepare when I am inviting friends over for dinner. As a cook I have many friends who work in culinary kitchens. Most certainly some of them have better techniques that I can learn from and borrow for the guides. Inspiration could come from anywhere – the seasonal produce, the green market, the meal we served for staff, or a new dish I tried at a favorite restaurant. Being surrounded by food makes it easier. I’m fortunate I live in the mecca of food, full of culinary inspirations. Besides that, I own quite a few cookbooks.
What is your favorite meal?
A meal is a ritual. It doesn’t matter what you have on the table. Of course a juicy roasted chicken with crispy baked potatoes is better than a loaf of stale bread. The really important things are moments, memories and laughs you get out of that feast. Not to pick on stale bread, because you can make a delicious snack out of it; one of my favorites is Caldeirada — the Portuguese Bouillabaisse.