Photos by Mai Pham Lechon -- suckling pig topped with chicharron, served with cilantro, onion, pico de gallo, tortillas
This week, we've been chatting with Ruben Ortega of Hugo's and Backstreet Cafe.
This is the third and final part of a three-part Chef Chat series. If you missed our previous posts, you can read Part 1 here and Part 2 here.
Ruben is the lesser known sibling of Hugo Ortega, and his official title at Hugo's is that of Pastry Chef. I got to know both brothers last year, while we were standing backstage at the Anthony Bourdain show, waiting to get our books signed by Bourdain and Eric Ripert. Hugo, the older brother, is more formal and more reserved. Ruben is more gregarious, with an open personality and easy sense of humor, which is interesting because even though he goes everywhere with Hugo, he's happy to stay in the background in deference to his older brother.
It made sense when he told me about his background, about their large family, and the fact that he and his brother espouse a more traditional view of their food. Culturally, showing respect for your elders, be it your brother or uncle or grandmother, is strong in ethnic communities, and the Ortega family seems very rooted in tradition. This translates into their food, and the execution of the dishes that come to your table when you visit Hugo's.More »