As the child of a job Air Force officer, Ely Navarro Hernandez moved normally. She grew up across the U.S. and lived in Korea and Japan. But her mother’s Cuban cooking was a frequent. Following attaining a culinary degree, she came to New Orleans and worked at restaurants like Mopho and Luke as very well as Full Foodstuff and The Roosevelt Hotel. She did not get started producing her mother’s flan recipe for any one besides loved ones and close friends until she hosted a pop-up Cuban dinner at Wakin’ Bakin’ all through the pandemic. People today liked the flan, and finally she commenced the pop-up Only Flans, serving classic and authentic versions. Find facts about the pop-up at @onlyflansbychefely.
Gambit: How did you get fascinated in cooking?
Ely Navarro Hernandez: My mom is an excellent cook. We did loved ones meals, seated at the desk every single night. She did all of the cooking — all the Cuban recipes I grew up with. We ate her flan year-spherical. Just before I remaining for faculty, I acquired this journal to sit down and create every thing down. I was like, “Walk me as a result of almost everything.” Which is what my flan recipe is handwritten in.
I left college to get into culinary university — the Texas Culinary Academy. It is a Cordon Bleu college in north Austin. I shot out of school and worked at a great deal of places in a whole lot of various designs. I seriously liked the life-style.
My to start with work was this amazing tea residence and cafe in Austin known as The Steeping Space. It was a amazing area. I figured out so substantially. (I was) coming from a French culinary college and making all your flavors on cream and butter. They had every little thing there, but it was also concentrated on vegan objects. I acquired how to make flavors out of none of the matters I was trained skillfully to do. I figured out to do spring rolls and Asian-inspired dishes, and issues like cashew Caesar salad or tomato-coconut soup. The pastry section was wonderful. They experienced a great vegan carrot cake.
I was quite fresh new out of culinary college when I saw an ad on Craigslist for a sous chef to open a Mexican-style cafe in this article in New Orleans. I experienced an interview in a Starbucks and experienced one 7 days to move my whole everyday living to New Orleans. I was applied to relocating from my parents’ army life, so I basically packed myself up into my little Volvo and moved right here in just one week by myself at 21 several years aged.
Gambit: Why did you concentrate on flan?
Hernandez: I am not seriously excellent with desserts and pastry. I am a savory gal. This is the only thing I had in my pocket by way of dessert.
Flan is pretty comparable to a creme brulee. It is cooked in a drinking water tub. I find that a lot of distinctive cultures and nations have flans, and they improve regardless of whether you get one particular from Cuba or Mexico or the Philippines. The texture of mine is additional on the creamy aspect. It is concerning a panna cotta and a cheesecake.
The syrup is a caramel. It solidifies before you set your custard in. By way of baking, when you flip it, it comes out that lovely texture.
I always use my mom’s recipe as a base, but I get to enjoy a whole lot. All of my flavors I do 12 months-round, but some are great for special holiday seasons. I have a sweet potato one that is superior for Thanksgiving. When I did a Doomsday evening meal with Que Pasta at Barrel Evidence, I acquired to participate in with squid ink and I did a black flan. It tasted like a salted caramel complete, but it was black all the way via. I am open to playing with various factors now.
‘If I could have written a would like checklist, this spot is it.’
Gambit: How did you commence your pop-up?
Hernandez: Through the pandemic, I begun operating with Wakin’ Bakin’. I bought to host a 5-training course Cuban meal. I created all the classes and flan was the dessert. That menu was all my mom’s recipes. The Wakin’ Bakin’ dinner was the initial time I designed a flan in New Orleans.
Soon after that evening meal, I acquired requests for full flans. Then the clever identify came about, and it shot up.
I have a good friend who has a pop-up referred to 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 providing slices. It grew from there. People began in search of me out to purchase a total one. With the intelligent title (Only Flans), it’s effortless to get a person to try out it.
At this time I am building possibly 10 flan a week. I can only bake four at a time. I am going just about every Tuesday by Friday with Que Pasta at Barrel Evidence, and she is at R Bar for Saints game titles. If you see her, my flan is on the menu. I am at Pal’s on Sundays with Umami Mami. Recently I have been out with Lufu with slices, and in the new year we’re likely to be carrying out a collaboration.
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