NYC chef Kelvin Fernandez brought his famous arepas to Philly
Kelvin Fernandez, the executive chef of La Marina restaurant in New York City, who defeated celebrity chef Bobby Flay on the Food Network series “Beat Bobby Flay”, brought his winning areas recipe to Philadelphia for the Forbes Under 30 Food Festival held last night at The Kimmel Center.
The crispy arepa with braised beef short rib, lime-scented sour cream, pico de gallo and cotija cheese was created by Fernandez when he joined the Manhattan restaurant in 2014, his first time leading a Latin restaurant.
“Even though I’m Dominican I didn’t really cook as much Latin food as I should,” Fernandez said. “When I figured out that I wanted to do an arepa, I knew that I wanted to do something different.”
After visiting numerous arepa restaurants in NYC and other places, he opted for the texture and flavor of a crispy arepa de choclo with chunks of corn kernel in it.
“It’s a Colombian recipe with a Dominican twist,” Fernandez said.
Now that La Marina has closed for the season (it’s open from May to September) the chef will be keeping busy with a lot of traveling and cooking of course. After Philadelphia, he will be visiting Washington D.C. to cook at a special event at the Pentagon; Lexington, Ky., for the Breeder’s Cup; Dominican Republic for Taste Santo Domingo, and the Philippines.
Back home, this week he just opened “Barcelona Bites”, a tapas bar and restaurant with Nuevo Latino food in the Bronx's Riverdale section, where he intends to bring downtown quality food uptown.
“I wanted to create a great menu to enjoy in the community where I live,” Fernandez said. “I wanted to bring that and make it special there.”
Fernandez may have defeated Bobby Flay last April on the Food Network series, but he didn’t have the same luck last night in Philadelphia against other chefs from the Forbes 30 Under 30 list who competed for the title of America's best young chef.
Judges Randall Lane, editor of Forbes Magazine, and Isaac Hanson and Taylor Hanson, of the band Hanson, selected a goat dumpling with peanut piri piri and micro cilantro, by chef Joseph "JJ" Johnson from The Cecil in Harlem, as the winning dish; the attendees voted for a duck confit grilled cheese & tomato soup, by Christopher Coombs from Boston Urban Hospitality, as their favorite.
The Forbes Under 30 Food Festival was the opening event of the 2nd annual Forbes Under 30 Summit, which is taking place Oct. 4-7 in Philadelphia.