Where do you live?
I live in Downtown Dadeland.
Where are you originally from and what brought you to town?
I was born in Mexico, but I grew up here in Miami.
Please share about what you do for a livelihood or what keeps you busy during the week?
I have two kids and I have many jobs. I’m always working, always cooking. I have my own business doing private chef work and cooking classes and cooking parties. And, I just started working a few weeks ago as a chef for Miele in Coral Gables.
What is Miele?
It’s a German company that sells appliances, like ranges, ovens, stoves, refrigerators, dish washers, laundry machines and the like. They have a showroom right by Merrick Park and I am a culinary instructor there. I teach people how to use the appliances and get to create amazing dishes. I do group cooking classes and private classes. They have a beautiful live kitchen and the classes are usually complimentary. You do need to make a reservation online.
Where did you learn to cook?
I went to culinary school in San Francisco at the California Culinary Academy. It was basically my grad school. I graduated in 2000 and realized that I did not like working in a restaurant, it wasn’t my cup of tea. I looked for creative ways to use my skills and went into television production on cooking shows. I worked on a show in San Francisco for five years and then when I moved to Miami, I ended up working at Univision on two different shows. I developed recipes, planned every single step and then executed it.
What is the number one question people ask you about cooking on tv?
People always ask if I use fake things like glue for milk. I know in commercials that was a thing at one point, but I feel that food is so beautiful on its own that I never used anything fake.
Tell us a little bit about your family.
I have a large Jewish-Mexican family, so there’s a million of us and we’re really close. My dad’s side is here in Miami and my mom’s family is still in Mexico. Pretty much everything revolves around food. I can count on any single family member for anything. I feel I’m very lucky in that respect. I have two kids, one is about to turn 14 and the other is 11. My daughter is a competitive dancer. I’m not married so if you know anybody…(you may put that in your interview)
How often do you come to the market?
About once a month. I don’t come as often as I would like because my kids have activities on Sunday mornings.
Do you have a market ritual? If so, please describe.
I like to do a loop and see what looks good. I like to get inspired and always try to find something that I’ve never tried or that I’ve never cooked with. That’s fun for me.
What’s your favorite thing to buy at LNB Grovestand and why?
Smoothies. My daughter tried a new one last week, the Flower Power, and was very excited. I’ve also tried the Turmeric Tonic. I didn’t know if I was going to like it, but I liked it. I liked the way it made me feel afterwards. I can immediately feel a difference through my body.
What activities do you enjoy with your kids?
My daughter likes to cook with me. She’s very active. She likes to go swimming, running around and enjoys the beach. My son and I like to go to the movies. He’s more of a homebody – we love to watch stand-up comedy and just chill out.
What is our market missing?
More produce. I feel like it’s heavy on the prepared foods. I’d like to buy produce, eggs and meat and things like that.
Do you have any favorite market stories?
The last time I was there, I also took my one-year old niece. I was having one of your smoothies, and she was super thirsty. It was hot, and I didn’t have her water – so I gave her the smoothie. Out of nowhere my sister shows up and is surprised her daughter is drinking a smoothie. My niece was so happy, it was cute. I love to expose her to new tastes and fruits. My sister lives next to me, so I get to cook for them a lot and my niece like everything with some spice.
What do you like to cook? Would you share a recipe?
Tonight, I’m making shrimp lo mein for my son and chicken version for my daughter. I made a good salad yesterday that that is more exciting. It was a chayote radish cucumber salad. I have cooked or roasted the chayote before – but this was the first time I’ve had it raw. I cut everything, including the squash, into really thin slices, like a julienne, and added lime, olive oil, cilantro and a little bit of cayenne pepper and salt.
Where do you like to go out to eat?
My kids love LAN Pan Asian. My son gets shrimp dumplings and the chicken flat noodles. My daughter gets the chicken katsu and edamame. I usually get Sushi.
If I had to pick like my favorite place to go right now it would be Ghee. I like to go for lunch. They have a set lunch, with only two options. It’s nice because it makes you try different things. It’s a super price as well, I think it’s $11 dollars.
Where do you go for a special occasion?
I was blown away by KYU. I think we ordered the entire menu, but the thing that stood out is the whole roasted cauliflower. That was insane.
What is Miami’s best kept secret?
The kimchee at Kimchee. I bought the cucumber one and thought I would eat a little bit. I ate the whole thing. They also have interesting things like chive blossoms and mung beans and beet sprouts.
What is a worthy splurge?
For me, a really good olive oil is a worthy splurge.
What’s a good rainy-day activity?
Baking. Recently, my daughter and I spent the whole day making a cake that she saw on the cover of Food and Wine magazine.
Do you participate in any community or philanthropic events that you would like to share?
I like to give my time to JAFCO – (Jewish Adoption and Family Care Options) JAFCO’s mission is to care for abused and neglected children and those with disabilities in the Jewish community and to work in partnership with families and the entire community. They are always collecting goods for camp and during the holidays you can bring presents and help wrap gifts. I also donate classes and events to many other charities.
Would you share a pitch about yourself, your company with our readers?
My company is called Chef Aliza. Cooking and eating the right way and knowing where your food is coming from and what you’re putting into your body is super important to me. I offer cooking classes and cooking parties for kids as well as corporate wellness events. I am also a certified health coach.
What question would you like to ask us?
Where are your farms?
(A+W) Our farms are in the Redland. Adena’s dad started the farms in 1980 and they have grown to several properties.