Estrella Benmaman

My Moroccan-Jewish parents immigrated to Venezuela in the 1960s, where I was born. I am actually a painter by training and live in a neoclassical half-house/half-studio in Caracas. But in the recent years, it has been less about paint and more about ingredients. I switched the paintbrush for an apron and began hosting every last Thursday of the month a supper club called Machacala which has reservations made three months in advance.

I also cooks-up recipes for www.HispanicKitchen.com and my oldest friend and photographer, Natalia Brand, captures the perfect shots of her creations. I consider myself criollísima and I am a salsa lover; however, my DNA undeniably pours Morocco. My favorite dishes to prepare are homemade yogurt, chicha Venezolana and of course, my famous slow-cooked lamb paired with one of my many and just-as-famous home-made mustards.

Cuando estoy frente a los fogones, me asalta la infancia, sobrevienen recuerdos. En fin, la cocina es memoria.