Meet culinary student chef Raquel Latorre

Latorre serves up tilapia for budget-friendly meal

Raquel Latorre came from Brazil to study culinary management at George Brown College (GBC) because she had heard it was the best in the industry.

“I think it’s a good program because it matches not only the culinary skills, but also the management part, which is really important,” she said.

Latorre’s family is Italian, and so she said she “grew up in the kitchen”

“I’ve been cooking my whole life, since I was a little girl, but I’m really into baking,” she said. “It makes me happy to see people enjoying what I’m making. That’s what makes me so into cooking. It’s a sign of love.”

Latorre chose to do culinary rather than baking to improve her skills.

“We never know the opportunities we might get and we also have baking in this program so I’m not wasting a degree,” she said.

Inside the classroom, Latorre said she’s been inspired by chef Dario Tomaselli.

Latorre said she likes Tomaselli because he teaches his students about the demanding and difficult aspects of the cooking world.

Outside of GBC, Latorre looks up to Brazilian chef Alex Atala, whose restaurant Deo Optimo Maximo was ranked fourth best in the world by the S. Pellegrino in 2013.

After school, Latorre said she would like to get a job in a pastry shop to develop her skills deeper before opening her own Brazilian bakery café.

“I don’t want to go back home, that’s why I’m investing so much money in Toronto because I think it’s a great city to live, especially for culinary,” she said.

For Latorre, the biggest challenge in the kitchen is the language barrier. Her first language is Portuguese.

“Although I do speak English, it’s kind of hard to go so specific because I think the language barrier will always be there,” she said.

The tilapia recipe Latorre chose to showcase is a family recipe.

“Those are ingredients you find easily (in Brazil), so it reminds me of my home town and that’s why I wanted to do this recipe.”

Raquel Latorre’s tilapia recipe

Ingredients
1 kg white fish – we used tilapia
6 tomatoes, cubed
3 onions, cubed
6 gloves of garlic, minced
A bunch of cilantro, roughly chopped
20 ml olive oil
salt and pepper to season

Instructions
1. Season the fish with salt and pepper to your taste.
2. Mix all the cubed vegetables in a bowl.
3. Heat the olive oil in the pain and add half of the vegetables, covering the bottom of the pan.
4. Add the fish on top. Cover with the rest of the vegetables. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper and cover the pan.
5. Cook on medium heat for 20 minutes.

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Meet culinary student chef Raquel Latorre