Ingrid Hoffman hit the hereditary jackpot—the petite Colombian American grew up with her pilot father’s sense of fun and her Le Cordon Bleu-trained mother’s love of food and family. Unfortunately, Hoffman also inherited something else with which she was not quite as happy: the small, dated kitchen that came with the condo that she purchased in Miami over 15 years ago. Thanks to the design team led by Claudio Faria at Ornare, however, her long-awaited kitchen remodel dispatched with the paltry counter space and cramped cabinets that had drawn her ire and gave way to a bright, functional room. “Nothing was overlooked,” says Faria. “Ingrid sat with our designers and went through every detail of what she wanted the kitchen to be— from where the utensils went to how she wanted to store her pots and pans.” Aesthetic touches like warm walnut cabinetry, LED lighting and varying countertop thicknesses ensure that aesthetics make a vital cameo, as well.
LX: What was most important to you when designing your kitchen?
IH: I wanted marble surfaces. The first thing that everybody said was, “Are you insane? It’s going to stain!” But it’s my home, and that’s what I wanted. I didn’t want it to look industrial or too perfect. I wanted it to stain; I like the wear and tear. I wanted it to feel like home.
LX: How many recipes have you dreamt up in your kitchen?
IH: I do 52 episodes a year for Simply Delicioso, and each show features four to five recipes. Plus, I do a mobile show, a mobile recipe service and radio spots. So, I crank out between 3,000 to 4,000 recipes each year, and they’re all tested right here in my home.
LX: Where do you like to eat in Miami?
IH: I love Haven; Todd Erickson is the chef there, and he’s really brilliant. I also love anything by Michelle Bernstein and Michael Schwartz. One of my favorite Peruvian restaurants in the city is Salmon Salmon.
LX: Favorite dish?
IH: I’m a mood eater, so it depends on the day, but if I had to pick one, it’d be arroz con pollo. I make it with tons of fresh veggies and cook the rice and chicken in beer.
LX: What’s a must-have for the at-home cook?
IH: Your own spice blend. If you can only have one thing in your pantry, that should be it. I make my own using black cumin, achiote, lemon pepper, parsley, onion, garlic, oregano and lemon zest. I use it to marinate things and even as a salad dressing.
LX: Best food to serve at a dinner party?
IH: I’m a big fan of one-pot meals that I can make ahead of time. I want to be able to enjoy my own party, so I set up a self-serve station for drinks with a signature cocktail and pre-made paella that I heat up in a steam bath right before people start to arrive. Good to go!
LX: Describe your culinary style.
IH: I’m a mutt, so my food is a combination of a lot of different cultures and places. I play a lot with cuisine that mixes flavors from different Latin countries, but the real trick is in making recipes that are easy, healthy and fast so that people will want to cook them.
LX: Has living in Miami changed the way you cook?
IH: Completely. I’m very influenced by my surroundings: the ocean, the color- ful people, the sand, the beans and the burgers. I’ve really come to love Floribbean cuisine; for a while, you couldn’t find it anywhere else.
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