Miami-based chef Ingrid Hoffmann has a mantra: “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.”
It is clear that this incredibly passionate businesswoman has been wildly busy lately and has definitely not been snoozing.
She is the host both of Simply Delicioso—in English, originally on the Food Network, and now on the Cooking Channel—and of a new Spanish-language show, Delicioso, on Univision. Her hit cookbook reflects her Spanish- and English-speaking fan base, as it was published in both languages: SIMPLY DELICIOSO: A Collection of Everyday Recipes with a Latin Twist and DELICIOSO: Una Coleccion de Mis Recetas Favoritas con Sabor Latino.
Hoffmann has also developed a Latin-influenced cookware line with premium brand T-fal called Simply Delicioso by Ingrid Hoffmann. Her designs include a paella pan and multiple-size calderos, and it’s available at Target, K-Mart, and HEB stores.
Ingrid Hoffman took some time out of her packed schedule to talk with Fox News Latino about her background, influences, goals, and passion for making the incredible food of her childhood accessible to all.
Q: You grew up in Colombia and the Netherlands—how did each country shape your palate?
A: I’m a mutt. For example: My mom is Colombian from Basque and Catalan Spanish parents; my maternal grandfather was Bolivian and raised in Argentina; my father’s father was German. Dad was an airline pilot for KLM [the Dutch airline], so we moved around a lot and I grew up eating all kinds of Latin food—Colombian arepas, Cuban desserts—as well as the food of the Netherlands: Indonesian food, traditional Dutch food. What I do is create food from 22 Latin countries—including Spain—and I make it easier. My self-appointed title is professional eater and life lover.
Q: You have your irons in so many fires—shows, cookbooks, cookware—what are you most excited about right now?
I’m launching an app—it’s called Delicioso and it has one-minute recipes with all ingredients listed—and I am so thrilled about it. Multimedia is where it’s at, and my adrenaline kicks in when I see something I dreamed of coming to reality. For me to say that I created the first multi-language brand is such an honor. It’s been a road of sacrifices—a lot of ups and a lot of downs; it hasn’t been easy. When I walk into Target and see my cookware, I still cry. Ultimately, though, I consider myself a factory for creating content!
Q: How did you get onto this professional path?
A: I actually started working at 13, working in McDonald’s. I did not want to work for my mom [a Cordon Bleu–trained chef] in her catering business because she was very strict. McDonald’s was actually a great learning experience, then I started working for my mom and learned so much about proper technique, ingredients, everything.
Q: How did you become a multimedia “brand”?
A: I started on TV about 13 years ago. I knocked on doors, got a column in Hispanic Good Housekeeping. I had never planned to be on the Food Network—Martha Stewart and I have the same book editor and one day she was looking for a chef to show her audience authentic Latin cooking and our editor connected us. I appeared on her show and that very same day, I got an offer from the Food Network [her show now airs on the Cooking Channel]. Now, I also do the Today show every six weeks in addition to my own shows. I never thought I would air on open broadcast channels. When I started, there has been no Latin cooking on TV, not even in Spanish.
Q: Why do you think Latin cooking has become so popular?
A: America has become a more multicultural society. By 2020, according to the Census, the majority of Americans will be Hispanic. This is where the ad dollars are going, where the attention is going. I think that I am going after my roots: It’s a culture that I live and breathe. Years ago, my work used to be called ‘ethnic,’ and now the lines are blurring. It’s an exciting time in America.
Q: Anything you’d like to share with your fans and aspiring entrepreneurs?
A: My dad told me when I was little, ‘Do what you love, and you’ll always be happy.’ He was right. I’d love for my fans to know that I am I am personally very active with my social media: I answer every tweet myself!
Laura Vogel is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles.