We’re highlighting some of Burlington’s best chefs to get to know them and their food a little better. This week we had the pleasure of talking with Executive Chef Luiz Velasquez from Familia Fine Foods.
Name: Luis Velasquez – Co-Founder / Executive Chef
Restaurant: Familia Fine Foods
What inspired you to start cooking? My Family got my interested in cooking, especially my Grandma Clotilde, who was always at home around food. I would watch her and learn from her.
When & where did you start? I started cooking when I was about 5 years of age, after watching my grandma on Sundays at the farm. She would make her specialty soup for the whole Family (around 40 people) and I began to help in the kitchen with the prep, setting tables, etc; that was my main inspiration
What’s the first thing you learned to cook really well? Fast easy type food like amazing burgers, sandwiches, hot dogs and of course Colombian Arepas.
What is your favourite thing to cook? I love to cook Colombian food, it brings me back in time.
What did you have for breakfast today? Colombian Arepa with avocado, that is my everyday breakfast!
Is there any food that you won’t try? No, I try everything, it does not mean I like everything….
What’s the biggest piece of advice you can give a young, aspiring chef? Ask yourself questions like: do you like washing dishes ? do you like working with people? do you like serving and attending to people? can you work under pressure and stress? Do you like working hard and long hours? Do you like going grocery shopping ? If you do like this, it is time to keep working hard because you have the skills to be a good chef.
What is the best meal you have ever had? It was Sancocho Soup by the river, a tradition we have in Colombia to cook this amazing soup (my all time favorite) from scratch using dry wood in a hand-made fire pit, surrounded by water, mountains, friends and family. That is better than any Michelin star restaurant in my opinion.
If you could cook for anyone, past or present, who would it be for and what would you make? I would like to cook for Canada’s Prime Minister, whoever that person is at the time. I would like to serve my food to the person who runs the country we live in and the country that welcomed us like any citizen born here; who is giving us the hospitality and facilities to keep growing as human beings under a society that respects life and human rights and offers a promising future for our kids. I would see it as a way of giving back through food to this amazing country with incredible people that we are lucky to live in and call home.
Thanks to Luis for meeting with us. You can meet him at Familia Fine Foods located at 3245 Harvester Road in Burlington. Or check out their website for a great selection of their delicious meals for home delivery.