Ar­mando Or­tiz Martinez Chef/Co-Owner of Park Is­land Mar­ket and Cafe

The Sentinel-Record - HER - Hot Springs - - Culture -

What in­spired you to be­come a chef? Def­i­nitely my mom. She was a home­maker with seven chil­dren and a hus­band, so of course she was al­ways in the kitchen. Break­fast, lunch and din­ner were all made from scratch ev­ery day. I would of­ten help and that is where I learned how to pre­pare fresh home-cooked meals. Noth­ing ever came from a box.

Best thing you’ve ever eaten: Galantina, which is a tur­key dish. I will ac­tu­ally be in­tro­duc­ing it here at the cafe in the next few weeks.

Best cook­ing ad­vice you’ve ever re­ceived: Any­one can pre­pare a meal, the im­por­tant thing to re­mem­ber is to al­ways cook with love for the peo­ple you are cook­ing for. When you

cook truly from your heart, that is when all the fla­vors come to­gether. Love will make even the most sim­ple dish taste good.

Fa­vorite in­gre­di­ent: The three ma­jor in­gre­di­ents needed to make any recipe taste great would have to be hot pep­pers, onion and gar­lic.

Fa­vorite restau­rant: I don’t re­ally have a fa­vorite restau­rant. I eat a lot of real Mex­i­can food, true Mex­i­can food, not Tex-Mex and I can usu­ally only get that when my mom comes into town or I visit.

Some­thing few peo­ple know about you: How pas­sion­ate I am in this en­vi­ron­ment. Peo­ple think I am just another punch on a clock, but

our food is re­ally my pas­sion and I love to share that with oth­ers.

Fa­vorite thing about Hot Springs: I came here in 1997 with only six months to stay. When I saw this town I was amazed and sur­prised at how beau­ti­ful this place was. This small town sur­rounded by a Na­tional Park, I fell in love the mo­ment I saw it. The diver­sity this small town of­fers gives it the feel of a big met­ro­pol­i­tan city. Here you have ev­ery op­por­tu­nity to meet peo­ple from all over the world from Rus­sia to Poland. It is truly amaz­ing.

Pho­tos by BETH BRIGHT

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