Julio’s baking up some old traditions in his kitchen
Get to know Julio in this Q&A, and get his 🥖 Ciabatta Loaves, TODAY (6/24) and MONDAY (6/28) from 1-5PM!
Q: What’s your cooking background?
Julio: “My cooking background consists of 15+ years as a professional baker, specializing in artisan bread baking, cake decorating, and other pastry techniques and disciplines. I’m a graduate of the Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago, and have worked for various bakeries and restaurant groups in Chicago.”
Q: What can you tell us about the dish you’re making?
Julio: “I like to make everyday bread for everyday people and occasions. I love making styles of bread that can go with any meal, whether that be breakfast, dinner, or even a picnic! So if you’re looking for an interesting sourdough, baguette, or ciabatta, I am your guy.”
Q: What do you think about when you make this dish?
Julio: “It reminds me of an old-world tradition that has gone out of fashion as of late: Getting fresh bread from a local bakery instead of buying the prepackaged grocery store white loaf. Having fresh bread with your meal enhances your dishes, and is a perfect snack at any time of day.”
Q: What’s your favorite food memory?
Julio: “During summer vacations as a kid, my parents would send me and my brother to Mexico and I have the best memory of my great aunt Celestina making us quesadillas in the shape of animals, using corn masa wrapped around fresh cheese, and shaping the dough into donkeys, bulls, horses and all sorts of things that she could imagine. She would then deep fry them until golden, and they were the tastiest and fun midday snack.”
Q: Where did you grow up and what kind of food did you grow up with?
Julio: “I grew up here in Chicago, born in Pilsen, and have lived on all sides of the city. I currently live in Pilsen. My dad used to work at an Italian restaurant when I was very little and he learned all about Italian cuisine. Everything he learned, he brought home as he was a great cook, and family dinners would consist of Italian dishes, Mexican dishes, or sometimes a mishmash of both. My dad‘s love for different cuisines sparked my own interest in the culinary arts.”
Q: Anything else we should know about you and your cooking?
Julio: “I’m inspired by places like Panadería Rosetta in Mexico City where they combine old-world French techniques with traditional Mexican flavors like pulque, guava, Hoja Santa, and chilies to make lovely combinations of bread and pastries.”