Dos Caminos Chef Ivy Stark on Day of the Dead Culinary Traditions: Interview Part 2


Yesterday we spoke to Dos Caminos chef Ivy Stark about her new cookbook, Dos Caminos Mexican Street Food, now available on Amazon (it officially hits stores next week). Today we shift gears somewhat as Ivy tells us what foods she’ll be making for Day of the Dead and as she reveals her ideal New York City food crawl.

Many people still say you can’t find good Mexican food in New York City. What would you say to them?

I would say that’s absolutely not true. Lots of restaurants are doing great authentic food. Out West, there’s been a longer tradition of Mexican cuisine because of the population, but New York City has come a long way in the past 10 to 15 years.

Do you think that’s because the perception of Mexican cuisine has changed?

Absolutely. It’s getting to be where Italian food was a while back. It started as red-sauce spaghetti joints with checkered tablecloths, and Mexican food is getting that way. People are also getting more adventurous and trying new things.

Day of the Dead is coming up soon and you’re doing a cooking class at Dos Caminos Park Avenue. What are some of the dishes popular for the holiday?

Mexicans always make mole for celebrations because it’s a long and complicated process. You prepare the favorite dishes of ones who’s passed on. So we’ll do mole negro and short ribs. Huitlacoche is in season now, too, so that, and tamales are a favorite. And candied pumpkin sundaes, because candied pumpkin is placed on the altar.

What do you do when you aren’t working?

I watch baseball. I’m a big Yankee fan, so all summer long I’m at the stadium. Or hanging out with my dogs, and eating out and seeing friends. Or cooking.

What do you cook for your “home alone” dinner?

Home-alone dinner is usually pasta ’cause I can go to the grocery and find beautiful vegetables.

If you had a free day in New York City, what would your ideal food crawl be?

Wow, a full day free? That would be great! My food crawl … let’s see. I’d go to Balthazar for breakfast and have a pain au chocolat and then a nice long lunch at Lupa with delicious wine and go back to my neighborhood in Brooklyn and have a lovely dinner at Vinegar Hill House.

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 19, 2011

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