|INTERVIEW SERIES: CHEF CUTIEPIE|

Ya know, I’m a very chill person.  I like that I’m around some ratchet people, some hood people, and some really sophisticated people (it’s called coding).  I’ve had the pleasure of meeting this person in 2004-2005 (don’t quote me) who has been all of the people listed above.  She’s been one of my biggest supporters in life and it’s only right that she gets the same support from me.  Meet the ivory to my ebony, Ms. Chef Cutiepie.

EverythingBKNY: Please tell the universe who you are.

Chef Cutiepie: Thanks for having me. My name is Veronica Velez also known as Chef Cutiepie. Your abuelita just got younger.

EBKNY: I like that slogan.  Tell us what is it that you do?

CCP: I cook.

EBKNY: What do you cook?

CCP: I cook everything but specialize in traditional Puerto Rican Food.

EBKNY: How did you start?

CCP: My aunt in Puerto Rico would send us the typical holiday goodie box of like all these traditional Puerto Rican pastries and foods that people make during the holidays. When she passed away, I didn’t know where we will be getting these items stuff from.  So I decided to do it myself. My mom taught me how to cook whatever she knew which was like rice beans, chicken, pork chops, and regular everyday stuff but I wanted to know more.

EBKNY: Did your aunt teach you how to cook some things?

CCP: No my mom taught me.  When my aunt passed away,  I didn’t get a chance to ask her how to make certain things like the elaborate recipes or dessert or things like that so I just started looking them up and figuring it out. I went to cooking school and they show you the fancy cuts and terms but they don’t teach you the soul of cooking especially Puerto Rican food.

EBKNY: What are some of your favorite dishes to make? 

CCP: I pretty much taught myself how to make pastelles.

EBKNY:  What is that?

CCP: It is banana paste with meat typically pernil which is pork, seasonings, onions wrapped in a banana leaf and boiled which people was Puerto Ricans typically eat for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

EBKNY: So during the summer months, it’s unheard of?

CCP: No.  You can have it all rear round but it’s a hot dish and contains a lot of heat and hot water.  Imagine that in 90 degree weather.

EBKNY: I understand.  So what’s your specialty?

CCP: My hustle is Coquito.

EBKNY: Yesssss. The infamous Coquito. I know you make that all year round right or only during holidays?

CCP: Mainly the holidays but I can make it to order also.

EBKNY: So how is that going to work since you’re moving?

CCP: Yeah.  I’ll be moving to Atlanta but I will still take orders and I also ship via mail so I’m more than ready to get back to it without any gaps in service.

EBKNY: So lets talk about this move.

CCP: Let’s.

EBKNY: Why are we moving?

CCP: So I lived in Chelsea all my life. When I was growing up, I remember my dad and his friends playing dominoes on the corner and just hanging out and having a very high sense of neighborhood. Everyone knew everyone’s kids. Everyone’s mother was out the window, watching you play at the park. I love that! I love the sense of neighborhood. Now Chelsea has changed. Once I graduated school, I moved to Harlem. I like Harlem too. It was still Manhattan. Still two minutes from a train. Still 20 minutes to work. I lived in this circle of convenience. Due to the gentrification, the rents going up, and landlords illegally making people move out, I decided to move from Manhattan. I knew I can find a better apartment somewhere else. I moved to Bed Stuy and immediately it’s slower.

EBKNY: Slower?

CCP: I don’t mean that in a bad way. I mean when I’m home now, I feel like I’m home. I feel like I’m not in a rush.  The second that I step out the door, or as soon as I get off the train to go home, I feel like my shoulders relax. It’s not as busy and rushy as Manhattan.

EBKNY: Are you going to miss it?

CCP: Absolutely. But I can’t afford it here and I have a son.  New York isn’t what it used to be.  I’m a single mother raising a minority boy, it’s not safe for him. Between trigger happy police officers or other kids having to prove themselves, I’m scared and I need him to be safe.

EBKNY: Brooklyn will definitely miss you.

CCP:  I’ll miss Brooklyn too.  I’ll miss New York period.

EBKNY: So to wrap it up I have Brooklyn Trivia for you.

CCP: Oh yes!! Shoot!!

EBKNY: Name the bridges in Brooklyn.

CCP: Oh yes you’ve told me this before. Brooklyn, Manhattan, Williamsburg (BMW), Triboro…

EBKNY: Not Triboro thats Bronx, Manhattan, Queens

CCP: Oh! Ok umm Verrazano, the other bridge that takes you from Long Island City to Greenpoint…

EBKNY: Kosciusko Bridge, Pulaski, Marine Parkway Gil Hodges bridge…

CCP: Damn, thats a lot.

EBKNY: Brooklyn is a big place.

CCP: Yup!!

EBKNY: Well thank you for sharing.

CCP: Thank you for being an outlet.  Tell everyone to order coquito.

EBKNY: You just did it for me.

Instagram: @chefcutiepie

Facebook: Chef Cutiepie

Website: www.chefcutiepie.com


Chef Cutiepie

 

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