Summer Chef Series with Otro Cafe

What do you get when you mix fresh avocados, McClendon’s Select produce, Sogno Toscano olive oil and Homeboy’s Habanero Sauce?  The perfect guacamole for dipping Mama Chelo’s chips and Noble Bread.  That’s exactly what we enjoyed this week at the demo booth with Chef Owner of Otro Cafe, Doug Robson.  His guacamole was chock full of market ingredients, showing us that there’s no limit to creativity with this popular appetizer.

Robson grew up in Mexico and is known for using seasonal produce at his central Phoenix restaurant.  He takes Mexican food beyond refried beans and cheese and shares the flavors of his childhood.  At the market, he mixed fruit in his guac, including roasted tomatoes and bright local citrus from McClendon’s.  Two C-CAP students were on hand to assist with the produce preparation and sample serving, receiving helpful guidance from Chef Owner Doug.  Experience is paramount in the world of culinary arts.

He shared tons of helpful cooking tips.  For one, it’s okay to make your guacamole chunky.  He suggested folding all ingredients together so that it breaks down the diced avocado, not smashing it.  The chunky avocado texture makes the dip interesting.  He also shared a creative substitution, using basil in the guac if you don’t like cilantro.  It will still give you the punch you’re looking for, but with a flavor profile that’s more palatable to a wider audience.

Jacob Cutino’s local hot sauce, Homeboy’s Habanero, was added to the mix.  For those who like spice, it’s the perfect kick for anything from guacamole to burgers.  Cutino’s company is relatively new, but you wouldn’t know it since you can find his sauce in restaurants and small retail all over the valley. It’s the hot sauce sensation that’s sweeping the state.

Of course, when you’ve got guac, you need a light, salty, crispy chip.  Mama Chelo’sdelivers on all fronts.  This all natural, gluten free corn chip is named for owner Hiram Carrasco’s grandmother, the original Mama Chelo.  He takes pride in his chips as well as his green and red varieties of salsas, his grandmother’s recipes.

Jacob, Hiram and Doug made a killer combo this week and marketeers were all too happy to gobble up the goods.  We will be back at it again next week, demoing more market fresh dishes in the wonderful air conditioned facilities at North Phoenix Baptist Church.  We will also keep with the raffle, which is turning out to be quite the hit with our regulars.  We upped the ante today with four $50 Otro gift cards.  Maybe you will be a winner next week.

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