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Friday, February 4, 2011

My First Interview............Tim Spinner Chef/Owner Cantina Feliz

   One of the things that I have always wanted to do when I started this blog was to talk to people about food. I am interested in what makes the things I obsess about great. I also cook at home and always like to experiment and see what works. I am excited to have my first interview on record fro my blog. I first met Chef Spinner over 5 years ago when he was a sous chef at Amada. I did not know at the time that we grew up not to far from each other and knew a lot of the same people. I also did not know at the time that Rex Ryan would take Chef Spinner's victory-challenged Jets to 2 consecutive AFC Championship games while my victory- challenged Bills sat at the bottom of the AFC East.
   I feel honored to have watched Tim Spinner grow as a chef and to see him finally see one of his life dreams accomplished, his first restaurant. below is a short interview i conducted with him about Mole and his passion in cooking.


What made you gravitate toward cooking Mexican cuisine?

 Chef Tim Spinner: I fell in love with not only the food of Mexico but also the culture and the people-which in turn made me love the cuisine even more.  I started working at El Vez back in 2003.  There was fairly many Mexicans who worked there.  They taught me so much about their food and they taught me the proper way of cooking it as well.  The food is also so festive,  What better to celebrate a special occasion than with tacos and margaritas.

 
What was your first experience eating mole? What was your first experience cooking it and how successful were you?



Chef Tim Spinner: There was a great mole coloradito on the menu when I first started at El Vez.  They served it with turkey.  I'll never forget that moment because up until then I never knew what mole was or how it was made.  I remember making mole for the first time with Chef Mike Isabella when he worked at El Vez as the Executive Sous Chef.  There were so many different ingredients.  It tasted amazing.

What types of moles do you have on the menu for Cantina Feliz? Do you have plans to do others in the future?

Chef Tim Spinner:  We have a mole poblano on the menu at Cantina Feliz that we serve with an organic airline chicken breat, rice and plantains.  It is turning out to be a huge hit.  I can't keep up with the chicken.  We get whole birds in that are broken down, brined and then sous-vide.  We plan on doing a Mole Verde as well that we want to serve with some Kansas City ribs.

Is there any advice that you would give to home cooks in making their moles better? 
Chef Tim Spinner:  For the home cook I would say take your time and be creative.  make the mole your own-experiment with different chiles, nuts and fruits.  It is also very important that when you refry your mole to make sure that lard is very hot (you don't want to break the mole sauce).  Stir quickly because if the mole splashes on your arms it tends to burn like hot tar. 

Side Note: I had gotten the don't burn yourself making mole advice from another chef as well. since I had already successfully made 2 moles, I didn't think much about it. I later burned myself while refrying my mole.  that is why I do this folks. I want to keep arms safe across America.

I again would like to thank Chef Tim Spinner for his time. I recently had the opportunity to have dinner at Cantina Feliz in Fort Washington. The Mole Poblano was great as was the sweet plantain rice it was served with. I was aslo a big fan of the Ceviche Verde and I cannot wait to go back for the Strip Steak with Bone Marrow. 


Cantina Feliz

424 S Bethlehem Pike
Fort Washington, PA 19034
cantinafeliz.com

It is easy to get to on regional rail. An express will get you there in 20 minutes. When you get off the train turn left and walk up the hill. Then order a maragrita; you deserve it.

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