LATINO VOICES
11/22/2012 09:24 am ET

Jose Garces, 'Iron Chef' Star, Finds The Latino Road To A Thanksgiving Celebration (RECIPES)

During a season when turkey and cranberry sauces are the traditional dishes on the tables of millions around the country, what better way to represent the Latino culture than with a little “sazón”?

Culinary influences from five exotic locations, along with his own taste and style, helped Chef José Garces find inspiration for his new cookbook, travelogue and memoir “The Latino Road Home”. The new hardcover includes tasty dishes from Ecuador, Spain, Cuba, Mexico and Peru, which can form part of a delicious Latino Thanksgiving dinner. (Story continues after the break)

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RECIPES: Chef José Garces' & Other Dishes For A Latino Thanksgiving

“This book traces my own personal journey, and each of those countries have shaped me, personally and professionally, in some way," the "Iron Chef" star said in an interview with The Huffington Post. "My family came from Ecuador. I studied cooking in Spain after college. My wife’s family hails from Cuba. Traveling to Mexico inspired one of my most popular restaurant concepts. And Peru is a culinary enigma that I simply can’t spend enough time exploring.”

The experienced chef, and entrepreneur, admits receiving his first influences in the kitchen from his mother and grandmother, Amada, after whom his first restaurant was named. Already running five different restaurants, Garces travels constantly to find inspiration and “exceptional ingredients of all varieties and extraordinary techniques”. (Check out some of Garces' recipes above)

So what’s his secret to keeping individuality and cultural identity in a heavily influenced kitchen environment? Make good use of ingredients like rice, olive oil and chiles to enrich your recipes and help you strengthen your roots.

“Don’t be afraid to adapt new ingredients into your own techniques, and traditional ingredients into new recipes. Invite friends and family over often to share a meal with you. As long as you remember what you love and why you love it, it will never be far from your heart – or your plate”, Garces told The Huffington Post.

Need something a little stronger to go with the meal? Check out how to pair a good Tequila with any dish below!

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