A few weeks ago, we had the pleasure of interviewing Chef Oscar Del Rivero. With over 20 years of experience in the culinary industry, Chef Oscar is the Executive Chef in charge of the kitchens at Jaguar, Talavera, and Peacock Garden Cafe. His experience includes past restaurant ventures in Mexico, Austria and Spain, as well as extensive training with esteemed local restaurants such as Blue Door at the Delano, The Palm Hotel and Talula.
Chef Oscar is actively training his staff to become more knowledgeable on what gluten is and what food items contain it. Since there is no set gluten free menu in any of his restaurants (yet), please be sure to contact the restaurant at least 48 hours in advance and mention that you need a gluten free meal to be prepared for you. Below is the interview we conducted:
- MM: Are you familiar with the Celiac disease?
- Chef Oscar: Yes I am, one of my brother’s friends has it, and I know the basics. Although still learning.
- MM: Do you know what gluten is and where it is found?
- Chef Oscar: I read it is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. Thanks to you, I also know it can be found in soy sauce and white vinegar. A customer also told me once that it could be found in some cheese. She mentioned blue cheese (not in all of them) and in some cheese like mozzarella that have added flour to prevent caking. Also in products made with malt.
- MM: Are you actively training your staff on what gluten is and what ingredients in the kitchen must be avoided? If so, what measures are you taking?
- Chef Oscar: We are just starting to train the staff, we will review our recipes to be able to mark which items are 100% gluten free.
- MM: Do you have any entrée or appetizer recommendations for any of your restaurants that are naturally gluten free? If so, which ones?
- Chef Oscar: Yes we do, crispy blue chicken tacos is a very popular appetizer and is mainly chicken and corn tortilla. Our guacamole is gluten free and it is served with plantain and tortilla chips which are naturally gluten free. Our grill items are naturally gluten free and the side options can be grilled vegetables or rice, also gluten free. Our Famous Salmon “Norma”, is pan seared with heart of palms, corn, sweet potato & spinach and finished with a lime-orange butter sauce. Our quesos fundidos are all gluten free, we just recommend corn tortilla instead of flour tortilla, which is the way I personally like them with.
- MM: For dishes that are not naturally gluten free, what modifications can be made to substitute ingredients in your recipes and make the dishes gluten free? (applies to any of your restaurants).
- Chef Oscar: I believe some of the ceviches can be made without soy sauce, they will still taste terrific and that will make them gluten free. Also we are buying a different brand of vinegars that are gluten free.
- MM: Given your proven versatility and adaptability to the growing gluten free demands, by when do you expect to have a gluten free menu at Jaguar? At Talavera? At Peacock?
- Chef Oscar: We will start at Jaguar and it will probably be ready before the high season starts.
- MM: What are the best selling items in your menu? Can they be made gluten free?
- Chef Oscar: Beef tacos is the most popular and it is naturally gluten free. Our grilled churrasco is also a #1 seller and it is gluten free, the chimichurri that comes with it is gluten free as well if we use a gluten free vinegar or we might change our recipe to another type of vinegar.
- MM: What are you top 3 favorite dishes? Can they be made gluten free?
- Chef Oscar: These three are gluten free:
- Jaguar; Mexican Lasagna, made with corn tortillas instead of pasta sheets.
- Talavera; Mole Coloradito from Oaxaca, braised chuck steak served with red mole and white rice.
- Peacock Garden Cafe; Coconut Grove Fish Casserole, made with ginger, coconut milk and curry.
- Chef Oscar: These three are gluten free:
- MM: For a gluten-intolerant guest, how many days ahead should they call to guarantee that their food will be gluten free?
- Chef Oscar: The same day would be fine to guarantee it. The most important thing is to make sure to talk to the manager, and the manager will touch base with the chef in that shift.
Check out these links for more Chef Oscar del Rivero:
- Miami New Times:
- NBC 6 In the Mix: