Passing down a piece of history from one generation to another can be a beautiful and sometimes delicious sentiment. As Mother’s Day approaches, we asked some of our favorite chefs to share their special memories and recipes that have been given to them over the years. In the spirit of the holiday, we're cooking for our mothers this weekend. You can, too. We're making things easy by offering up ten recipes offered by some of our favorite chefs and their own mothers. So, get into the kitchen and start experimenting. And don't forget our favorite breakfast tray, you'll need it to start off Mother's Day right.
“My mother and my grandmother are the loves of my life and I still have the privilege of spending this special day with both of them,” says Doreen Colondres, chef and creator of La Cocina No Muerde. And lucky for her, she gets to share this delish cornbread (created by her Aunt Carmen) with them.
“When I was little, she used to call us to visit and would always have her coconut cornbread waiting," Colendres said. "One day she shared the recipe with my mom. I used to love to help my mom prepare it and then enjoy the aroma of the house while baking it.”
For Evette Rios, a correspondent on ABC’s The Chew, Mother’s Day is the one time of year where she can truly show her mother just how much she appreciates her.
“I couldn’t get away with not spending time with my mom on Mother’s Day! It is the biggest day of the year for her,” says Rios. “My mom and grandmother were always in the kitchen improvising, I think that is where I learned to be fearless in the kitchen,” she says.
Rios recalls spending the Easter holiday with her family, where her grandmother would prepare a Tortilla Española for her, which she has selected to share.
“I still make the Tortilla Española every Easter and it allows me to use up all the eggs that I blow out in order to decorate them,” she continues.
- 2 large russet potatoes
- 1 large Spanish onion
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- 10 eggs
Chef and TV host Ingrid Hoffmann believes that Mother’s Day shouldn’t be designated to one day of the year.
“It should be Mother's Day everyday because it’s a day to honor our mothers!” she says. “I was very close to my grandmother and my mother is my best friend,” she continues. “I grew up working with my mom, that is where I acquired my love and passion for food and cooking,” says Hoffmann.
For her contribution, Hoffmann chose her maternal grandmother’s garlic soup.
“The soup had an egg in it that was so comforting and yet so simple and easy to make,” says Hoffmann, who added the recipe to her new cookbook, Latin D'Lite.
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 12 garlic cloves, peeled
- 4 1-inch thick diagonal slices from a whole-wheat baguette
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika, preferably Spanish
- 4 large eggs
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped for garnish
For Chef Kelvin Fernandez, Executive Chef at The Strand Hotel, spending Mother’s Day with his mom means celebrating the reason why he works so hard.
“Accomplishing my goals in life, all to make my mother proud, that’s why this day is so important to me,” Fernandez says. “As grown adults with busy careers, we don’t have the opportunity to spend much time together so we take advantage of that time around the holidays,” he continues.
Fernandez has chosen to share his mother’s flan recipe, which he fondly remembers as the sweetest dessert after dinner was finished.
- 1 can of evaporated milk
- 1 can of condensed milk
- 5 egg yolks
- 2 cups of white sugar
- 1 vanilla bean
Mary Sue Milliken, chef and co-owner of Border Grill restaurants, enjoys coming up with special dishes for her brunch menu inspired by the idea of being a mom. In fact, when Milliken and her partner, Susan Feniger opened the first Border Grill restaurant, Milliken’s mother worked in the kitchen for seven years as a pastry chef.
“She designed the whole pastry menu herself,” says Milliken. “Our Pastel Rufina is named after my mom because that’s what the kitchen staff would call her (her name is Ruth). It’s a variation on a French dessert with cream puffs and custard,” she continues.
- 1/2 cup milk
- 3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 4 egg yolks
- 2 cups milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
To chef Douglas Rodriguez, Mother’s Day is just another day to show appreciation and more love, for his mother and the sacrifices she made for him.
“Both my mother and my grandmother were huge influences in my life, but especially my grandmother,” says Rodriguez. “Abuela Josefa would cook a different menu everyday, including a homemade dessert at dinnertime.
Rodriguez has chosen to include his Vaca Frita, a dish his mother taught him to make for the first time.
“We used to prepare the Vaca Frita together, but now I’m the one to cook it for my wife, my Mom, my mother-in-law and every Mom that I have the pleasure to celebrate with,” says Rodriguez. “Vaca Frita is always on my repertoire for Mother’s Day.”
- 3 tablespoons pickling spice
- 5 cinnamon sticks
- 5 star anise
- 2 bunches cilantro, chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons ground oregano
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons ground pepper
- 1 1/2 tablespoons salt
“My mother liked the idea of celebrating her but she didn't like having others decide when that should be,” says Gerson. “She showed me the importance of knowing where your food comes from, which has allowed me to enjoy food more,” says Gerson.
One of Gerson’s favorite dishes is her mom’s Caesar salad, which includes the basic ingredients of a Caesar salad, but adds ingredients of personal taste.
“The most important thing, my mom would tell me, is to rub the wooden salad bowl with raw garlic, that was the 'secret' and it makes me smile and think of her when I do that,” she says.
- 1 large garlic clove
- 1 7-inch piece of baguette, cut into 3/4 inch slices or cubes
- 8 anchovy fillets, packed in oil and drained
- 1 large egg
- 2 medium limes, freshly squeezed
- 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons yellow mustard
- 4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 3/4 to 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 hearts of romaine (an 18 oz. package will do as well, leaves separated but left whole)
With such a busy schedule, chef Lorena Garcia makes sure that she spends as much time as possible with her mother and grandmother.
“Being able to take a moment to spend time with them and share stories of three generations is fun to experience,” says Garcia. “They are the fountain of inspiration to all of my cooking,” she says of her mother and grandmother’s influence in her cooking career.
For her recipe, Garcia chose to share how to make Telitas.
“It’s my take on a classic Venezuelan arepa. It’s very thin and versatile, so it s great for breakfast, lunch or dinner,” she says.
- 1 cup Harina P.A.N. or masarepa corn flour
- 1 cup queso fresco
- 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil
- 1 tablespoons plus 1/4 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil, plus more for shaping, if needed
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- pinch of freshly ground black pepper
For Patricio Sandoval, chef and partner of Mercadito, Mother’s Day is about embracing different generations.
“There are traditions, stories - and of course, recipes - passed down through each generation and these are the gifts that help to create who we are, and what we contribute in the present,” says Sandoval who believes this idea is strongly shown through cooking.
For his contribution, Sandoval chose a generational dish that has become a tradition in his family as each cook puts his or her own unique twist on the dish, which makes it all the more special.
“The Arroz Verde is a traditional dish that makes you appreciate simplicity,” says Sandoval of the green rice and cheese casserole. “Even with a modern spin on it, it still shares the flavors of the original recipe,” he continues.
- 1 Poblano pepper, cut and deveined
- 1 green bell pepper, cut and deveined
- 5 garlic cloves, whole
- 3/4 sliced cup onions
- 3/8 cup epazote, roughly chopped
- 3/4 cup cilantro
- 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup onion, diced
- 2 cups Carolina long grain rice
“I love to spoil my mom,” says Traci Des Jardins, Chef/Owner of Jardinière.
The chef credits her grandmother for fostering her love and passion for cooking, thus leading her to a successful career.
“My grandmother inspired me to open a Mexican restaurant, which I did. One of her recipes, Chile Verde, has stayed close to my heart, as I learned to make it with her,” says Des Jardins.
- 4 pounds pork butt (shoulder)
- 2 pounds tomatillos, husks removed
- 1 pound Anaheim or Poblano chiles (green peppers may be substituted)
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 yellow onions, peeled
- 1 bunch cilantro, washed
- 1 teapsoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- salt and pepper