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Carlos Fuenmayor Carlos

Food & Service

Stirring the Pot with Sabrosito…

By Sheryl Kirby of Taste T.O.

Chef Carlos Fuenmayor is the owner and chef of Sabrosito, a private catering company where he specializes in in-home parties, as well as larger events, often with a teaching and Latino focus. He also offers cooking classes, both privately and through organizations such as the LCBO. He is Cordon Bleu trained and loves classical French cuisine, but his roots are South American, which is why his work celebrates Pan-Latino cooking and culture. He is a blogger and loves to dance.

What inspired you to become a chef?

My grandmother Wilma, who took care of us when we were kids and was a great cook.

What is your favourite dish that you make and why?

I’ll say arepas. Although they’re made everywhere in South America, they represent Venezuela like few other foods. I grew up eating them, and they’re a food that’s loaded with memory for me.

Three ingredients you couldn’t live without and why?

Avocado, lime and olive oil, because they’re just so delicious together.

On your day off – what are you cooking at home? If you’re eating out, where do you go?

When the weather’s cooler, I make guisado, a saucy comfort-food stew loaded with whatever looks good in the market. If I’m busy and/or exhausted from work, I make my favourite ham and cheese pita-wrap, with capers, olives, mayo, mustard, lettuce and tomato. It’s a sloppy mess but absolutely delicious.

My top three for eating out are Torito (276 Augusta), The Black Hoof (928 Dundas Street West) and Mistura (265 Davenport Road). I love what they do. They’re thinking and execution are right down my alley.

What is your favourite thing about the food scene in Toronto?

What I like the most is we can have food all over the world in a 15 mile radius. I also love participating at food events around town with chefs from different backgrounds, to be reminded of how we all come from somewhere else and bring something interesting because of that.

What’s coming up?

I’ll be back at the Evergreen Brickworks for the Slow Food Toronto picnic on Sunday, October 3rd. Come by and say hola!

My LCBO cooking class series: Latino Street Food!

Wednesday, October 20th at Bayview Village LCBO

Empanadas! Any One?

One of my favorite things to eat after arepas are empanadas. A small pastry pocket stuffed with whatever we may think of: meat, fish, pork, vegetables and the list goes on.

Empanadas are made all over the Latin world, but with different and sometimes unique techniques and recipes. For example, in Venezuela and Colombia, empanadas are made with corn meal, salt, water and oil, and they’re fried. In the rest of the central and South American, they’re  made with flour, eggs, lard or butter and water, and they’re baked.

On a resent trip to my home town of Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela, my brother and sister took me to eat empanadas at the ferry terminal where empanaderos make them 24 hours a day and they’re so delicious. On this particular night, it was my birthday, so after a long night of partying, we got hungry and decided have to some.

Hot and ready to eat

The most famous empanadas are the Argentinian and Chilean versions of this beautiful savory or sweet pastry,  served with different sauces, salsas  and dips depending on where it’s made.

Here in Toronto you can get them in any Latin American food store, but my favorites are made by  Marina Queirolo, owner of Surkl Empanadas. She sells them at The Brickworks Market and the Cheese Boutique.

Here’s my version of a spinach, queso fresco and pine nut empanada, with salsa criolla [spicy-sweet peppers, tomatoes and aji] on Market Mondays on Taste T.O

Happy cooking!

Yours on making Empanadas


Luminato 2010

It looked like it was going to rain, and it did, briefly, but mostly it was a perfect summer day. It was also Father’s Day. College Street was having its Italian Food Fest, and The Distillery had a Food and Spirits event on to, so we had a lot of competition in getting the foodies to come to Queen’s Park.

But they did come.

The Sabro team made mushroom escabeche with queso fresco.

The team: Rhea Pacaud on the left and Heather Baker on the right.

Waiting for the action …

Chris McDonald stops by to ham it up. I put him to work.

Heather, in the kitchen …

That was a lot of prep..

Local queso fresco!

It was worth it. We were in good company: paella by Embrujo Flamenco

See you next year,

Yours in good food at Luminato,


Not  many Anglos know why Mexicans celebrate Cinco de Mayo, Spanish for “the fifth of May.” The day commemorates the Mexican army’s victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla in 1862.

It’s not even Mexico’s Independence Day; that’s September 16th, 1810. And to add to the confusion further, Mexican independence wasn’t recognized until September 27, 1821.

Anglo or not, Ivy Knight put together a salsa competition to start the Cinco celebrations off two days early, as part of her 86 Monday Series at The Drake Hotel. She invited six chefs, including yours truly, to battle it out. To warm things up, a hot and sexy salsa all to herself,  Anastasia providing some burlesque entertainment, and here’s how it went down:

First Place: good friend Rossy Earle (below), the Panamanian chef of the Bell Fountain Inn

First Prize: a piñata crow

Best Salsa: hearts of palm, avocado and tomato

Second Place: Indalicio Marroguin, (right; that’s me on the left), chef of Rebozos, with a salsa roja, beans and sour cream.

Third Place; Howard Drubrosvky and Chris Scott (centre left and right in two black jackets), chef-owners of L.A.B, with their beautiful tomato, smoked tequilla and pineapple salsa. That’s Ivy on the left.

Buddha Dog owner Andre Hunter brought a sweet tomatillo salsa. Chef Nick Liu of Niagara Street Café make a lobster and chorizo salsa, that it was very delicious. And to honor the colours of the Mexican flag colors, I made bandera salsa, with a 12-chili salsa roja and an avocado and tomatillo salsa.

The battle is on….

Thanks to our host Ivy and The Drake Hotel for a great night.
Yours in hot, sexy, Toronto salsas
Que Viva Mexico!

Stop by Snapper’s Fish Market on Sunday [April 18] between 1:30 and 4:30.

263 Durie Street, two blocks west of Runnymede, just north of Bloor

I’m cooking up Laurie’s rainbow trout and serving it with chayote salsa. Recipes to go.

Celebrate local food with this gorgeous Ontario fish, and come and say hola to Laurie Hamilton, my favourite fish monger and good friend.

A few words worth mentioning about farmed Ontario rainbow trout.

Despite the bad rap farmed fish has been getting over the last few years, there’s a lot of good news out there.

Ontario’s aquaculture is highly regulated and closely monitored for both nutritional quality and environmental soundness. Check out these factoids excerpted from a recent piece by Stephanie Ortenzi of Pistachio, who writes about local food for Savour Ontario.

Aquaculture has been traced back to China 3,500 years ago, but here in Ontario, we’ve only been doing it 100 years. For the last 25 years, the industry has used cage culture in the Great Lakes, in the North Channel of Lake Huron, off Manitoulin Island and in Georgian Bay. Ontario aquaculture is widely recognized to have a clean environmental record and produces mostly rainbow trout.

Caged operations, immersed in a lake’s natural habitat, account for 80 per cent of the province’s farmed fish. The industry is heavily regulated and closely scrutinized by government agencies and the agro-scientific community.

Trout’s beautiful colour comes from naturally occurring pigments called carotenoids, which also give salmon and crustaceans their orange-red hues. Carotenoids are made by the plants and micro-algae that constitutes the trout’s natural diet.

Last August, the Northern Ontario Aquaculture Association released its Strategy for Sustainable Aquaculture Development in Ontario. It calls for maintaining environmental safety and further development of an industry that contributes $65 million a year to the provincial economy.

Here are some shots from those cage operations, with thanks to the Northern Ontario Aquaculture Association.

Yours in good fish,


Cava’s Chris McDonald has invited me to join him to cook a special Latino dinner for Slow Food Toronto’s culinary series, and I’m excited.

This will be the first time working with Chris, his Cava partner Doug Penfold and Carlos Rodriguez from Hart House. It will be the second time working with Marina Quierolo, owner of Surkl Empandas.

It’s very important to say that it’s much easier to educate non-Latinos about our food than it is to get our community to support the local food movement, so we’re going to bring the two together.

The good thing is that, for a few years now, some local farmers have begun to cultivate crops native to Central and South American. We’ve now got blue potatoes, tomatillos, cape goose berry and chayote growing in Ontario, and the list goes on.

In fact, local dairy and meat is already being used to make different kinds of queso fresco, chorizo sausage and other Latino-style charcuterie here in Toronto

La Tortilleria sells fresh corn tortillas. Fresh Mexican-style sauces made by  Jose Hahad owner of Frida Restaurant and the Mad Mexican food company. I’ve sung the praises of Segovia’s chorizos here before, but you can never say enough good stuff about them. We Latinos chefs — and anyone who wants to support local food and learn about Latino food and culture — can now do it locally, and that’s pretty exciting, too.

This Slow Food event is going to be a great follow-up to the Latino representation at the Brick Works Picnic last September. With friends Eduardo Lee and  Marc Lukacs of Arepa Café, Adrian Marquez, sommelier at  AGO, Veronica Laudes and Luis Valenzuela from Torito Tapas Bar and Marina Queirolo , we got to spread the word and the flavours of Latino cuisine. I only wish more Latinos chefs will come out to be part of this great event.

On the menu

Venezuelan Arepas, stuffed w/ queso fresco, caramelized onions & fresh thyme

Peruvian style ceviche, mussels and sweet potato

Marinated  heart skewers w/ spicy herb salsa & potatoes Huancaina style

Andean style pickled beet tongue with escabeche

Argentinian BBQ w/ chorizo, sweetbread, grilled bread and chimichurri

Sweet corn tamales stuffed w/prunes , candy orange & served w/white chocolate pistachio sauce

Yours Celebrating Local Latino food and culture


After a much needed holiday, I’m back in business.

Last week I started the 2010 Pan-Latino cooking series at IQliving and at the LCBO.
Happy to report the two first classes were sold out.

It’s great to see how much interest has grown in Latin cuisine, not just in Toronto, but all over Canada as well.
It has been a long road trying to introduce my roots and culture, but finally it’s paying off.

And just yesterday, I was invited by the secretive CB to do the ultimate Pan-Latino dinner… Stay tuned.
Four more classes planned for March, April, May and June.
Dates and times here.

Last night’s class was at the Summerhill LCBO kitchen.
On the class menu that night:
Arepa with local queso fresco, organic avocado and basil

Tiradito of wild bass with posole relish

Escalivada with fresh pickled fish and pan al ajillo

Four-chili-marinated flank steak with pico de gallo

Ingredients: local queso fresco, posole, chillies, yuca, sweet peppers, eggplant, Arina PAN and much more.

Yours celebrating Latino food and culture

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*Spanish for: "Mmm. Wow. That's good!"