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Chef Chris Valdes on Inspire Health Magazine: "One With The Community"

Chef Chris Valdes “One with the Community”

By Josie Gulliksen

Chef Chris Valdes’ star is rising quickly and one of Miami’s community leaders has

taken notice.

Chef Chris, who recently hosted the release of his debut cookbook “One With The

Kitchen” at the Tower Theater in Little Havana, was surprised by Senator Rene Garcia,

Miami-Dade County Commissioner District 13 with a key to Miami-Dade County in

recognition of his philanthropic work throughout the years.

Yelp Miami Community Director, Diandra Llamas hosted a Q&A session with audience

member and before Chef Chris stepped off stage, Senator Rene Garcia surprised him

with the honor.

“What did Chef Chris do?” said Senator Garcia, “when things got tough, he went out

and he gave back by giving thousands of meals to people in the community and in

doing so also helped his employees. So, on behalf of the three million residents of

Miami-Dade County, I’m honored to present you with this key to Miami-Dade County.”

He was referring to 2020 when Chef Chris partnered with organizations such as No Kid

Hungry, Kiwanis, The Chapman Partnership and the March of Dimes to donate meals to

first responders, seniors and families in need during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Most recently Chef Chris participated in six events during the Food Network South

Beach Food and Wine festival and also appeared on season 50 of Food Network's

longtime show, “Chopped.”

His busy schedule, hard work, dedication and relentless drive to share his

passion for cooking and bringing people together were evident even prior to the

cookbook launch.

It is what led Chef Chris to create his own platform on YouTube and star in his

very own series, “Cooking with Chris.” He has also been featured on the cover

of several magazines as well as appeared on various national TV shows

including Hallmark Channel’s “Home and Family” and most recently ABC’s LIVE

with Kelly and Ryan where he created empanadas with hosts Kelly Ripa and

Ryan Seacrest in honor of National Empanada Day. Chef Chris also became a

nationally recognized Chef as a contestant and finalist on “Food Network Star”

and their “Star Salvation” segment.

He is truly living out his childhood dream because since the tender age of 10, this Miami

born and raised Latino Chef has wanted to be part of the culinary world. He recalls

watching Chef Emeril Lagasse’s weekly television show and that being what inspired

him to become a chef. That is when he began cooking, wanting to emulate his idol

Emeril. That, and his insatiable curiosity while his stepmother would cook in their

kitchen at home.

By the time he started high school, he knew culinary school was his dream, but he

questioned whether he might have the chops.

Even with those doubts, he mustered up the courage and entered the Le Cordon Bleu

Culinary Competition in the baking division. He recalls having a disastrous showing and

after his loss he thought that was it, he was done.

Unbeknownst to him, his teacher Ms. Hyatt had re-submitted his application, this time

for the cooking competition. He was once again chosen to compete but this time, went

in with absolutely no plan. Once he was in the thick of the competition, he listened to his

inner voice, cooked from the heart, and ended up winning a $10,000 scholarship to

attend Le Cordon Bleu at 17 years old.

He thanks Ms. Hyatt and many others who played a huge role in his succeeding in the

culinary world in the cookbook through heartwarming photographs and in the

autobiography contained within its pages.

The book was a true labor of love, taking two years to complete as Chef Chris pored

over the writing and photography and having to deal with its delayed release due to the

pandemic. The delay however, worked in his favor, allowing him to delve deeper into

the book and perfect it before publishing.

Chef Chris has always embraced many cultures through his cooking by fusing

Caribbean flavors with modern influences to create iconic dishes. Those dishes,

many influenced by his mother who he grew up watching and bonding with as

he perfected his cooking skills, are featured in the book.

It’s obvious that with passion, commitment and a true love of cooking and creating

recipes for all to share, Chef Chris Valdes has cemented his place in the culinary world

and made Miami proud.

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