Kate Ramos from 'Hola Jalapeño'
Creator of ¡Hola! Jalapeno, Kate Ramos, has spent years working as a food editor, recipe developer and chef. She now lives in North Dakota and writes about her take on Latin food. She's got a wide variety of traditional and inspired Mexican food recipes - from spicy mango margaritas to chiles en nogada - we are very PROUD to say she is one of Meeexiiicooo's cocina contributors! Ultimately, the 37-year-old mother of two says she wants her kids to grow up "lovers of Latin culture." And we must say, she has not disappointed.
How did you get started on your blog? I started the blog as a creative outlet after my family and I moved from San Francisco to rural North Dakota.
How long have you been writing about Latin-inspired food? I started the blog in 2009 and initially would write about anything; what I made for dinner, what was happening in my garden, my kids, etc. Over time I started focusing on Latin-inspired food.
What advice do you have for other people who are interested in blogging? The best advice I can give is; be authentic. This is a very saturated market, so you have to show people how you are different from everyone else writing about food. Also other food bloggers are your biggest asset. This is a very supportive group so reach out, develop relationships, you’d be surprised how people will bend over backwards to help.
You mentioned you were a chef. Tell us a little bit about that: I started working in restaurants at fourteen. I always wanted to cook so as soon as I could get a job I began working at a deli in the town where I grew up, I made soup and sliced meat but mostly fulfilled the glamorous task of washing dishes.
Where did you work as a chef? I’ve worked in barbecue restaurants, French restaurants, bakeries, private clubs, and guest lodges. After college I got hired as a Sous Chef at Mustard’s Grill in Napa Valley and worked there for a few years before moving to San Francisco where I worked my last restaurant gig as the Pastry Chef at Firefly Restaurant.
Education? BS in Hospitality Management from University of Missouri-Columbia, Minor in Spanish
Did you go to culinary school? I did not go to culinary school. Everything I know I’ve learned from experience. When it was time for me to go to college I decided instead to get a business degree in Restaurant Management. At the time, I thought I would one day have my own restaurant. Who knows? Maybe I still will.
Where did you work as a food editor? I worked as a food editor at CHOW and now also freelance as a cookbook editor for DK Publishing and Parragon Publishing.
What exactly is a recipe developer? A recipe developer is just how it sounds. I develop original recipes for my blog, ¡Hola! Jalapeño, as well as brands like Cacique Cheese, and other websites and magazines, such as TheKitchn and Go Gluten Free Magazine.
What was your favorite of all these jobs and why? I love being in the kitchen and developing recipes. I can think of a set of ingredients and just imagine how they might go together. I have a sixth sense about what would work and what wouldn’t. I guess I’ve been experimenting for so long that it feels very natural for me, kind of like breathing.
What is your favorite Mexican recipe to make? Tostadas!!! These Pork Tostadas Ahogadas: are pretty extraordinary, but I love just about anything on top of a crispy tortilla shell. Plus, they’re pretty easy to make, so bonus!
What is your favorite Mexican recipe to eat? The grilled chicken you get along the roadside in Mexico that is usually cooked over a makeshift grill made out of an old box spring and an oil barrel. It is life changing and I’ve tried to recreate it a million times, but have never been successful.
What is your kids' favorite Mexican recipe to eat? Paletas. My kids are true Mexicans and love anything and everything sweet, but especially paletas. Louisa: Fresa and Hiro: Limon.
What is your kids' favorite recipe to make? Pan de muerto: Every year before Día de los Muertos we make a few loaves of pan de muerto. The kids love shaping the bones and skull for the top.
How did you meet your husband? My husband and I met when we were both working at Mustard’s Grill. I was a Sous Chef and he was a bus boy. He is an artist and was working at the restaurant to make some extra cash. Not long after we met, he got accepted to the Masters program at Montana State University. He asked me to go with him and we’ve been together ever since. Hard to believe, but that was fifteen years ago.
Does your husband ever cook for you? My husband is the breakfast king. He makes the best breakfast potatoes, which I need to put on the blog. He also makes delicious breakfast tacos with black beans, eggs, and salsa. Again, I don’t know why these things aren’t on the blog.
What is your mission in writing this blog? I am continuously discovering the endless beauty that is Mexican and Latin cuisine. My mission is to share what I’ve learned with my readers and to be an ambassador for the complex, gorgeous food and culture of Mexico and Latin America.
Have you ever considered publishing a cookbook? Maybe some day. I have over 450 original recipes on ¡Hola! Jalapeño so the material is there, but I don’t have any plans for the near future.
What are some of your favorite Mexican food blogs?
Artful Desperado: (not a ton of Mexican content, but Gabriel is from Mexico, so it has that feel)