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As the child of a profession Air Force officer, Ely Navarro Hernandez moved usually. She grew up throughout the U.S. and lived in Korea and Japan. But her mother’s Cuban cooking was a regular. Immediately after attaining a culinary diploma, she came to New Orleans and worked at places to eat including Mopho and Luke as well as Complete Food items and The Roosevelt Hotel. She did not begin creating her mother’s flan recipe for any person other than loved ones and pals until eventually she hosted a pop-up Cuban supper at Wakin’ Bakin’ in the course of the pandemic. People liked the flan, and inevitably she began the pop-up Only Flans, serving regular and primary variations. Locate info about the pop-up at @onlyflansbychefely.
Gambit: How did you get interested in cooking?
Ely Navarro Hernandez: My mother is an fantastic cook. We did household foods, seated at the table each and every night. She did all of the cooking — all the Cuban recipes I grew up with. We ate her flan year-round. Ahead of I remaining for school, I bought this journal to sit down and generate all the things down. I was like, “Walk me through all the things.” That is what my flan recipe is handwritten in.
I still left faculty to get into culinary faculty — the Texas Culinary Academy. It is a Cordon Bleu faculty in north Austin. I shot out of school and labored at a large amount of locations in a large amount of unique variations. I definitely favored the lifestyle.
My to start with occupation was this incredible tea house and restaurant in Austin termed The Steeping Space. It was a great spot. I acquired so considerably. (I was) coming from a French culinary university and creating all your flavors on product and butter. They experienced anything there, but it was also concentrated on vegan things. I figured out how to make flavors out of none of the issues I was trained professionally to do. I realized to do spring rolls and Asian-influenced dishes, and factors like cashew Caesar salad or tomato-coconut soup. The pastry office was amazing. They had a good vegan carrot cake.
I was fairly fresh new out of culinary school when I noticed an advert on Craigslist for a sous chef to open up a Mexican-design and style restaurant in this article in New Orleans. I experienced an job interview in a Starbucks and had a single 7 days to transfer my full lifestyle to New Orleans. I was employed to transferring from my parents’ army lifestyle, so I pretty much packed myself up into my very little Volvo and moved right here in just one week by myself at 21 years aged.
Gambit: Why did you focus on flan?
Hernandez: I am not really great with desserts and pastry. I am a savory gal. This is the only point I experienced in my pocket by way of dessert.
Flan is very related to a creme brulee. It is cooked in a water bath. I come across that a great deal of different cultures and nations have flans, and they adjust no matter if you get a single from Cuba or Mexico or the Philippines. The texture of mine is extra on the creamy aspect. It is amongst a panna cotta and a cheesecake.
The syrup is a caramel. It solidifies in advance of you put your custard in. By means of baking, when you flip it, it comes out that lovely texture.
I normally use my mom’s recipe as a foundation, but I get to play a whole lot. All of my flavors I do yr-spherical, but some are good for particular vacations. I have a sweet potato 1 that is very good for Thanksgiving. When I did a Doomsday meal with Que Pasta at Barrel Proof, I bought to engage in with squid ink and I did a black flan. It tasted like a salted caramel finish, but it was black all the way by. I am open to enjoying with diverse issues now.
‘If I could have written a want checklist, this area is it.’
Gambit: How did you begin your pop-up?
Hernandez: Through the pandemic, I started out doing work with Wakin’ Bakin’. I received to host a 5-system Cuban meal. I designed all the classes and flan was the dessert. That menu was all my mom’s recipes. The Wakin’ Bakin’ dinner was the 1st time I produced a flan in New Orleans.
After that dinner, I got requests for whole flans. Then the clever identify came about, and it shot up.
I have a good friend who has a pop-up identified as Umami Mami out of Pal’s Lounge just about every Sunday. That was the 1st pop-up I did. I was at Pal’s on Sunday with her offering slices. It grew from there. Men and women started out looking for me out to purchase a total a person. With the intelligent name (Only Flans), it’s uncomplicated to get an individual to try it.
Now I am making it’s possible 10 flan a week. I can only bake four at a time. I am going every Tuesday by means of Friday with Que Pasta at Barrel Proof, and she is at R Bar for Saints online games. If you see her, my flan is on the menu. I am at Pal’s on Sundays with Umami Mami. Lately I have been out with Lufu with slices, and in the new yr we’re heading to be carrying out a collaboration.