Who’s blogging: We are Arturo Féliz-Camilo & Zobeira Yamiris Gil Ramos (Arturo & “The Sous Chef”), the husband and wife team behind “El Fogoncito.” We both come from very traditional Dominican families – and if there’s one thing to know about Dominican cuisine, it’s that it is passed down through generations. Arturo’s strengths are everything Dominican with the exception of sweets, baking and desserts, which are precisely Zobeira’s (“The sous chef”) strengths. We compliment each other very well in the kitchen! We met in law school (yes, we are both lawyers, but that’s not as fun as cooking!) and got married after graduation. We have been together for 18 years and married for 12 (this coming November) We have three gorgeous children (“AKA the little chefs”), two girls and a boy ages 7, 5 and 3. They love the kitchen. Little David, our three year old loves to say “Mom, let’s bake a cake!”
Explain your blog name: “El Fogoncito” literally means “the little rustic stove.” In traditional Dominican cookery, rustic stoves — sometimes little more than three or four rocks on top of which you would place a pot — were very common. They were usually fueled by wood, which added to the “countryside style food” flavor. We also blog in English over at DominicanHeat.com, and that title also refers to the welcoming character of Dominican food.
Blogging since: November 2010
Blogging from: The capital city of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic
Most popular post: Our all-time most popular post is a recipe for traditional Dominican-style stewed beans. It’s one of the three main components of our “flag dish” (“La bandera”), which are white rice, stewed red kidney beans and stewed meat (usually chicken). This year, our most popular post has been the a traditional cashew dessert (known in Spanish as dulce de cajuil). It’s really an amazing recipe made from fresh cashews.
What you’ve learned about food while blogging: It might sound like a cliché but we have learned that more is not necessarily better. Some of our traditional dishes are extraordinarily complex, but some of our best are very simple. Dominican white rice is among the best you’ll ever try and it’s only rice, water, salt and vegetable oil. It’s all about the order and the technique.
Where do you get inspiration for your posts? Dominican traditional cooking is all about family. Last year we published “Las recetas de Mamá Pura” – named after Arturo’s grandmother – which was translated and published this year. This book celebrates the women in our lives and is the first in our series of cookbooks we’re planning. So, in short, we get inspiration from our moms and ancestors.
What have you learned from blogging? That you really do get more than you give. We have learned as much if not more from our readers than they have from us.