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Chefs’ Easter Memories

While painted eggs and chocolate rabbits are the spring holiday’s staples, Easter brings back memories of family traditions and food among some of our favorite chefs. Read on to see which chef’s entire family was involved in Easter supper... and who forgot where they hid the Easter eggs.

Jose Garces

For Ecuadorian American chef, restaurant owner, and Iron chef Jose Garces, Easter was all about family in the kitchen preparing fanesca, a rich and complex soup of milk-soaked salt cod, squash, beans, grains, and herbs.

"For Ecuadorians, fanesca is the main culinary attraction for Easter. It is only prepared once each year to celebrate Good Friday,” he said. Garces’ favorite memory was from a childhood Easter spent in Ecuador, when his entire family – aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, parents – were hard at work soaking, shucking, peeling, and blanching the components for days. “Having the whole family involved in the preparation is what makes it so special," Garces said. “Some believe that the twelve different beans and grains in this soup represent each of the Twelve Apostles, so there's a bit of religious significance."

If you want to try the traditional Ecuadorian dish, you had better move fast. Although markets and restaurants offer fanesca during Holy Week, once the week is over, that's it. Fortunately, Garces has included a fanesca recipe from his new cookbook, The Latin Road Home for you to enjoy anytime.

Josh Capon

Chef and television personality Josh Capon may not celebrate Easter in the traditional sense, but he still serves up some delectable lamb dishes. “Being a Greek Jew, Easter for me is just a nice meal with my family,” he says. “Last year we did make colored Easter eggs with my kids and when I told them to hide them they did just that. Let's just say the apartment started to stink of rotten eggs a few days later!” Capon loves his lamb, and often runs several specials at his restaurants, including roasted leg of lamb and flavorful gyros.

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