Interview with Maritza Orellana

Vancouver is home to some of the best chefs in the world, many have worked for the top chefs and restaurants around the world as well as around the city. Dishing with the Chefs is a series of Interviews with some of the top chefs in and around Vancouver.

Maritza Orellana

In 1991 Maritza met her husband (Juan Gomez) at a restaurant in Richmond, she then worked at Rio Rio in Gastown as a sous chef while her husband was the Executive Chef. In 1992, Maritza started working at La Bodega downtown Vancouver in prep in the kitchen, her husband was the Executive Chef there, she then took over his position when he left. In 2014, La Bodega closed. In September of 2015 the children of one of the owners of La Bodega opened Bodega on Main and Maritza joined and became the Head Chef.

Where did you grow up?

El Salvador

Did you always have an interest in cooking?

No, I never thought I would end up cooking as a career.

Where did your love for cooking start?

I started at La Bodega, my husband taught me, he made me cry as it had to be done right. Cooking fish, pork, and everything. Now my daughter is following in my roots and she is cooking at Bodega on Main, she recently finished culinary school.

1st dish

Boquernos En Binagre

Boquernos En Binagre

Marinated white anchovy filets

Piquillo pepper relish

Grilled baguette

Garlic confit

 

What are your favourite ingredients to cook with?

Onions, garlic, peppers, chipotle

I understand you like to make Mexican mole, tell me about that

My husband is Mexican, I learned to make Mexican food from his family. I make mole from scratch, I also make my own salsas and hot sauces.

2nd dish

Gambas al Ajillo

Gambas al Ajillo

Prawns

Garlic

Chilis

Sherry

What are some of your favourite dishes?

Tilapia (fish)

Sushi

Chinese food and dim sum

 

3rd dish

Champinones

Champinones

Mixed mushrooms

Garlic

Sherry

Ground manchego cheese

 

What are your Favourite restaurants outside of where you work?

The Keg

Joe fortes

Minami Yaletown

What do you like to drink?

Red wine, dry

Good tequila

(but never drink the red wine and tequila together)

4th dish

Chistorra Ala Sidra

Chistorra Ala Sidra

Thin pork sausage

Basque cider

 

5th dish

Croquetta Del Dia

Croquetta Del Dia

Flour

Béchamel

Mushrooms

 

6th dish

Piquillos Relienos

Piquillos Relienos

Piqullos peppers

Goat cheese

Basil

Dates

Marcona almonds

Balsamic reduction

Parsley oil

 

Tell me about the use of chili

In Spain they don’t use chili, but here at Bodega on Main in the Gamba dish we use chili because people like it.

What is your favourite dish to pair with a glass of red wine?

Paella or Charcouterie platter

What are the most popular dishes at Bodega on Main?

Paella

Patat bravas

Mushrooms

Stay tuned for the next chef in the Dishing with the Chef series.

By: Richard Wolak