How Picadillo, A Simple Cuban Dish, Inspired Me To Cook


Often times I get asked by my friends and peers “what drove me to become a Chef?” “Who or what influenced me to pursue this career that I adore and am extremely passionate about?” When I think of a what inspired me to cook, Picadillo immediately pops up in my mind. This Cuban staple, is non-impressive, simple to make, and known as peasants food or poor mans’ dish. Probably the one dish I shouldn’t be referring to, but it’s the one dish that I can remember that inspired me to learn to cook and become the Chef I am today!

My parent’s fled Fidel Castro’s Communist regime back in 1959. They arrived to this country with nothing and started from the ground up. My dad was a commercial pilot in Cuba and drove a cab his first few years in this country and mom worked in a beauty salon waxing eyebrows with zero experience! Growing up, I remember listening to stories of how they had to struggle to put food on the table and they did what they had to, to make ends-meet.

This saucy beef with briny olives, fried little potatoes, and sweet raisins always came to the rescue weekly! My mom would make a huge pot, serve with white fluffy rice, sweet plantains, sometimes she would add fried eggs (if feeding a crowd) and occasionally even added an avocado salad (if it was a good pay check!). Picadillo fed our family, and sometimes even our neighbors while I was growing up. It’s the first recipe I ever learned how to make for my own family, and to this day, this is my go-to, and my grown children’s absolute all-time favorite Cuban dish! Every Cuban has their own version of this classic dish but I think there is one thing that we can all agree on- it is nothing less than delicious!

To learn how to make my delicious Cuban Picadillo, see recipe and instructions.

For more of my Cuban Fusion inspired recipes, make sure to visit my YouTube channel, or refer to my weekly recipe blog page for more inspiring ideas! I hope my story has inspired you to pursue your cooking passion as well!