Ingrid Hoffmann may be an internationally acclaimed culinary expert with a loyal base of followers in English and Spanish, but “chef” isn’t the official title you’ll read on her impressive resume. The host of Delicioso— an hour-long lifestyle cooking show on Univision—primarily considers herself a “professional eater.”
“My love of food really starts with a love of eating and sharing the table,” professes the 47-year-old cookin g star who was born and raised in Colombia and lived in the Netherlands with her family before moving to Miami as an adult. “It was very important to my mother that we always share a meal at the table as a family.”
But Hoffmann’s mother—a Cordon Bleu-trained chef who ran a catering business from her home kitchen and later opened her own restaurant—did more than incite a passion for food in her daughter. Through hands on lessons, Yolanda Ibarnegaray taught Ingrid the art of cooking as a child.
“I used to pull up a little stool to the stove, so I could reach the range and cook steaks and shrimp,” recalls Hoffmann, who now cooks the food of 22 Latin countries, including Spain. “I’d make this shrimp dish—my father’s brandied shrimp recipe that today is a staple and still one of my favorite meals.”
It should come as no surprise that traditional children’s fare like chicken nuggets and fish sticks were never served in Hoffmann’s home.
“Kids who’d come to my house would comment on the strange food; and I never really understood why it was weird,” admits Hoffmann, who remembers eating Indonesian food for about a year after her mom spent time in the Southeast Asian country learning how to cook their cuisine.
“She had this rule that wherever we went in the world, she had to go to the market and a cooking class with a local chef. She always said that you learned so much about a culture through ingredients. Looking back now, it really was like the United Nations of food at our house!”
It’s no wonder Hoffmann—who isn’t a classically trained chef—began developing her own flavorsome recipes with a similar eclectic spirit.
“Ignorance has been bliss,” declares Hoffmann. “My mixes of food really are unorthodox, which may not have been the case had I been classically trained. Instead, I can just have fun creating foods with a great balance of textures, colors and flavors.”
It’s that mindset that led Hoffmann to open her own restaurant called Rocca, which was the first Miami eatery to feature tabletop cooking on heated lava rocks.
“It was an incredible experience; it helped me be taken seriously as a chef,” proclaims Hoffmann, who has no plans to open another restaurant anytime soon. “I wasn’t able to be creative and develop recipes. It was about running a business and dealing with the bank and employees. And, it just took all the fun out of cooking!”
But the restaurant experience did help Hoffmann break into television at a local Miami station, where she shared her recipes with the public. That would lead to regular cooking segments on Univision’s morning show and a series of multi-page culinary stories in Buen Hogar, the Spanish version of Good Housekeeping.
“When I first started, no one was really focused on Latin food,” states Hoffmann, who launched her bilingual Delicioso brand with Simply Delicioso on the Food Network and the Cooking Channel, as well as Un Minuto Delicioso on Galavision. “My philosophy is everyday food with a Latin twist, something people can easily prepare that’s healthy and fresh. I believe in trying to eat as natural as possible, but with great flavor!”
That commitment to healthy cooking with comfort and ease led to Hoffmann partnering with T-Fal to develop her own Latin-influenced cookware and appliance line, Simply Delicioso by Ingrid Hoffmann, which includes a paella pan, calderos of different sizes and a pressure cooker.
“My cookware line comes from the same place as my recipes; I’m all about practical living,” asserts Hoffmann. “I’m always thinking about how to make life easier… how to help people save time and money and still eat healthy.”
It’s a never-ending mission for the hard-working Hoffmann, who is currently writing a book that she calls “very personal” while developing appetizing recipes and culinary content for her multi-platform Delicioso brand. But she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“It’s not glamorous work; it’s a lot of sacrifice,” states Hoffmann. “But I do it for so many hours a day because I love what I do!”
It’s that commitment to sharing her passion for cooking and entertaining with the world that has made Hoffmann simply the best bilingual expert in Latin cuisine.
Tom Castañeda is a creative writer, blogger, and award-winning broadcast journalist who has worked at Architectural Digest, In Touch Weekly, and Latina – a fashion, beauty, and lifestyle magazine for today’s bi-cultural Latina woman. Throughout his career in publishing, Tom has planned and executed numerous celebrity, fashion, and beauty programs throughout the country, including fashion shows, and shopping events for brands like Bloomingdale’s, Chanel, Mikimoto, David Yurman, Givenchy, Armani Fragrances, Macy’s, Southpole Collection, and more. Additionally, Tom has drawn on his strong journalism background to create various print, online, and video reports on various subjects, including fashion and beauty.