Chef Q&A: Chef Camilo Velasco, 1921 by Norman Van Aken

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Chef de Cuisine Camilo Velasco creates recipes with a nod to history and a view of the modern in a converted home built in 1921. 

What cuisine is your specialty?

Our cuisine at 1921 by Norman Van Aken is modern Florida cuisine. We celebrate the rich culinary and cultural diversity within our community with a focus on seasonal and responsibly sourced ingredients.

What’s your favorite local restaurant other than your own?

That is a difficult question. I guess it depends on what kind of experience I’m looking for. When I go out to eat I usually crave very simple food. It is  mostly about the wines. Berns Steakhouse would have to be the place that comes to mind when I think about simple food and fun wines. That place is special.

What’s your go-to meal at home?

Ajiaco, a potato and chicken stew, is my favorite meal at home. It gets better and better the day after. It is inexpensive and simple to make.

Where do you shop locally for interesting ingredients?

I love the International Food Club on LB McLeod road and Tortilleria La Mexicana in Kissimmee.

Which kitchen gadget could you not live without?

A cheap Ateco cake tester. It’s perfect for quickly checking temperatures on proteins and so much more. Every single cook at 1921 keeps one handy.

What was your favorite bagged lunch as a kid? 

Colombian empanadas. They were great hot or cold. Ají was a must with them.

What’s your most guilty junk-food pleasure?

Gas station coffee and glazed doughnuts.

What 3 things are in your fridge at all times? 

Beer, French’s yellow mustard, and Comté cheese. Why? There’s nothing better than a cold beer after a long day at the restaurant. I am obsessed with yellow mustard. I put it on everything. I love cheese, and Comté is the greatest cheese on the planet.

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