Before I start telling you a bit of my story, I wanted to thank you for visiting my website. Cocina de Vale has been a dream of mine since many years. I’ve always had a crazy passion for food, all my best memories are related to some delicious dish I shared with my loved ones.
I’m not a chef, but I’m a amateur cook, that respects food, the ingredients and the culture behind every dish. I love creating new dishes inspired by something I tried on my trips or in great restaurants. I also enjoy experimenting and trying new ideas, that’s how some of my best recipes were developed.
I come from a southern city in Chile. I grew up there with my family: my parents, my brother and my great-uncle. Everything we did as a family was related to food. We live to eat and enjoy life through food.
My mom is the one who introduce to this amazing world. She has a talent to create dishes out of nothing, all of them delicious. She worked a lot and could only cook on the weekends, so one of her favourite things to do was to go to the market next to our home, to buy fresh vegetables, fruits, fish and meat, and cook us a 4-course meal. She showed me the beauty behind the smell of a fresh vegetable and the respect we need to give to each ingredient when you are cooking them. She is my muse and inspiration in everything I cook and I’ll be eternally grateful for what she taught me.
My uncle was the one who cooked the rest of the week. He comes from the countryside and he was an adult when he learnt how to cook. However, he has these magical hands, that have created some of the best things I’ve eaten in my life. He always let me help him and always asked for my opinion. That was my first role in the family: to try the food and tell them what was missing. When I moved to Austria, I started cooking traditional Chilean food for the first time and he has always helped me with tips and ideas to try to get to the flavour from his food. Even he is much older now, he still helps my mom, and cooks with me every time I go to visit them in Chile or when they come to Vienna.
My brother inherited the love for food from my mom as well. He cooks amazing and has some great ideas, even he hasn’t had the chance to travel as much as he wanted to. It’s crazy how my mom and him, get to some flavours (like food from more “exotic” countries) even if they have never tried them. I admire his talent and his passion.
My dad is the one who almost never cooks, but he has always been in charge of barbecues and a Chilean dish called “Curanto”. Even he is not someone who enjoys cooking, when he cooks, he really takes the time to create something great, and of course, everything has to be serve with a good Chilean wine (is there any bad wine in Chile though? I don’t think so). My love for wine and barbecuing came from him. My dad has always loved eating, but specially my mom’s food or my grandma’s. She was another person who inspired me in the kitchen. My grandma always cooked incredible and created massive feasts for her big family. What a talent she was! And her homemade bread was out of this world.
When I moved to Austria, I had to start cooking all the time. Everything was new and everything tasted different, even salt. I also didn’t have much money to buy Latin American products, that here had the price of “exotic products” or to buy things I was use to eat all the time in Chile, like fish or fresh vegetables and fruits. It was very difficult at the beginning, but slowly I got use to it and fell in love of cooking all over again. My husband is my biggest fan. He loves my food and he is always up to try my crazy ideas. He introduced me to this concept that my family had never used before…to follow a recipe. Ironic isn’t it? 7 years later and I’m here writing on my blog full of recipes.
My baking skills have improved since I’m with him. He doesn’t cook or bake much, but specially with sweet dishes, he puts so much love an patience that they all turn out delicious. He prepares in my opinion, some of the best Austrian traditional sweet recipes.
His support is what helped me to start this project. My husband saw how happy I am when I cook. Cooking has been the main therapy for my hands. I have a chronic disease that has slowly damage my hands among other things, and being in the kitchen has helped me in the harder times. After having many jobs in different areas, and lots of difficulties to stay in those jobs because of my health, I decided to follow my dream and do something with my biggest passion and therapy: food. And here we are! Thank you for being part of my dream and I hope you enjoy my recipes and this website brings you some inspiration.
Have fun cooking!