By Hannah Eubanks | firstname.lastname@example.org
WEDNESDAY afternoon, Abe Rosenberg joined the Citizen for a cup of joe at Milagros Coffee House. This Valley resident, originally from Crestone, answered questions about his creative life as a chef.
Where did your passion for food and cooking come from?
I grew up in a family of chefs. My mom was a cook and a chef and my brother is a chef. It was a very common thing for us to be gathered in the kitchen, growing stuff in the garden. Later in life I met my partner and she came from a farming background, so we started a farming business together and that started my interest in: local agriculture, sustainable farming, permaculture, and bio dynamics. That’s been about twelve years of working on that. About ten years ago I started working with the San Luis Valley Food Coalition doing the MOKI project. My family was not farmers, but they had an appreciation for good food and local food. I think about being in our garden and eating peas. There was definitely that early appreciation.
What is your favorite thing to cook for your family?
For my family, I really appreciate breakfast. I feel that is one of the meals we really get to enjoy together. I enjoy going out and collecting the eggs when we can.
What is it like to work within a mobile kitchen?
It’s definitely a challenge. There are definitely some limitations to what we can do inside the MOKI. That’s kind of why we are doing the fundraiser. There’s a lot of planning that has to be involved, coordination around getting the ingredients, making sure there’s enough preparation, and the travel time. You’ll have little hiccups along the way, a delay on the road, things break down sometimes. It’s another component of a food truck operation that people don’t think about. If you break down on your way to an event you’re focused on the engine and getting everything running and fixed just so you can get there. She’s (MOKI) awesome, but she’s seen better days. She’s older than some of our staff.
What creativity does working within the MOKI produce?
The fun thing is that you get to look at what is seasonally available and come up with new recipes. That’s something that we all share as chefs inside the MOKI. We do it on a circular leadership pattern. One chef is leading the recipe for that week and then another chef will take the week after that and so on and so forth. Everyone gets their turn to have that role, “this is my recipe that I’m sharing and basing it off of what’s seasonally available, I’m bringing in my own history and flavor, and experience.” It’s also an opportunity to support another chef who’s taking the lead. We have a lot of fun with the creative design and work with our partners as well. Like our truck, it’s a painted vehicle. We try to infuse local art too, that (MOKI) was done by Nora McBride.
When you are the leading chef for the week, what is your personal signature?
I really like vegetarian, vegan food, that’s kind of my signature. Whenever there’s a request for that I’m always the person that’s like “Oh! Here’s this cool idea for that.” Those are my specialties. I really enjoy making Mediterranean food. I also like to do unique spins on things with raw stuff. Some of the recipes that are my favorite in our cookbook are the raw peach cobbler. It’s a totally vegan thing where you make a vegan whipped cream with fresh peaches and you make a crust that’s out of raw ingredients as well.