“Colombians’ gastronomic culture nurtured my life throughout my teenage years.”

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Valentina grew up eating this lasagna every New Year’s Eve

Get to know Valentina in this Q&A and get her “Empanadas” on TUESDAY (5/14) from 4-9PM and “Chicken lasagna” on WEDNESDAY (5/15) from 4-10PM in Lakeview!

Q: What’s your cooking background?

Valentina: I learned to cook through my dad, who has always loved to cook. I used to spend time with him in the kitchen, learning about his parents’ recipes and his “own“ techniques. When I left home 5 years ago, I knew I needed to place everything on practice, and began to take my cooking a step forward.


Delicious Colombian Empanadas! Corn meal dough, filled with a mix of slow cook shredded beef, diced vegetables, and yellow potato.

Living in Germany and Sweden helped me develop my cooking skills, learning from home cooks I had the chance to meet, who were used to ingredients totally different from what I was used to. My whole knowledge and skills have been gained through personal experiences, and longtime family recipes, influenced primarily by Latin American, German, and Scandinavian home cook culture.

Q: What can you tell us about the dish you’re making and what inspired it? 

Valentina: The first dish I’m presenting is a long time lasagna recipe, which began with my grandmother’s grandmother.


Valentina’s “Chicken lasagna!” WEDNESDAY (5/15) from 4-10PM!

The family’s traditional spices mix has been used in this recipe for more than a century now. It is the perfect combination between sweet and acid, perfect to enjoy with a glass of wine, a beer, or just a cold and refreshing glass of water.

Q: Where did you grow up and what kind of food did you grow up with?

Valentina: Born in the USA, we moved to Colombia when I was 13 years old. Colombians’ gastronomic and overall culture nurtured my life throughout my teenage years. When I think of Colombia’s food, bright colors and freshness come to my mind. It highly influenced my cooking.


“A delicious chicken lasagna made with homemade pasta, homemade vegetable sauce cooked for more than two hours, delicious homemade bechamel sauce, and mozzarella and parmesan cheese.”

Q: Who do you think about when you make this dish? What does it remind you of?

Valentina: New Year’s Eve always comes to my mind when I eat this lasagna. My favorite food memory is eating the lasagna, every New Year’s Eve with my family. I think on my grandmother and her family who I didn’t get to know.

Q: Anything else we should know about you and your cooking?

Valentina: I’m happy to share with you the dishes I love to cook, hoping you enjoy them as well.

Follow Valentina to see what she makes next! 🏡 And get her “Empanadas” on TUESDAY (5/14) from 4-9PM and “Chicken lasagna” on WEDNESDAY (5/15) from 4-10PM!

By Shmeal

The Shmeal Team. 🐖💻
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