Larisa Alvarez

Photo by: Armando Rafael

Armando Rafael

Digital Culinary Producer

What do you do on a daily basis?
I work mostly in digital media, which means that my team helps develop and bring to life the culinary side of the Food Network videos we make for social networks and the web. This involves everything from scripting demos and writing shopping lists, to sorting through bags of tortilla chips and lettuce to ensure that everything single chip and leaf is perfect. It is, if nothing else, very glamourous.  

Who is your culinary icon?
I love Anita Lo, Chef/Owner of Annisa: she exudes a level of grace and class that I think is rare among people of her caliber, and she can hold her own against the best of them. Plus, she was one of the first chefs in New York to eliminate tipping so that her cooks could have a livable wage. What’s not to love?

Who is your favorite food TV personality, past or present?
It has to be Julia, I hear her voice in my head anytime I have to cook anything that intimidates me. 

What's your favorite cookbook?
I don’t know if I have one favorite because I jump around a lot, but every time I need a basic well-tested, straightforward recipe I turn to Mark Bittman’s cookbooks. They’re thorough, full of information and the recipes always work. I’d recommend them to both cooks and beginners. 

What dish or ingredient will we never catch you eating?
Radicchio. I’ve tried and tried but I can’t seem to get along with bitter foods, regardless of the preparation.

What's your favorite condiment?
I want to say something cooler than ranch but…ranch. You can take the girl out of Kentucky….

What's the first dish you learned to make?
My family is Venezuelan, so it would probably be Pabellon Criollo, which is a very traditional dish that consists of shredded beef, rice, black beans and plantains. 

Sweet tooth, salty tooth or both?
Salty > Sweet

What kitchen tool can't you live without?
A good chef's knife

What music do you like to listen to in the kitchen?
I am never one to shy away from a theme so if it’s possible, the music will reflect the ethnicity or theme of whatever I am cooking. 

What's your favorite food scene from a movie?
Mrs. Doubtfire trying to cook dinner for her family.  

If you weren't in food, what career would you have liked to have tried?
In another life I would work for the United Nations specializing in women’s health and political rights. 

What's your favorite "food city" to visit?
New York wins solely because there is so much quality concentrated in such a small area, but I have to mention Louisville, KY. Louisvillians are the best and their food scene is starting to reflect that (disclaimer: there may be a slight bias here).  

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