"I can't believe it!" Chef Jose Enrique says, with a big smile across his face, when asked about approaching the 10-year mark on his restaurant in Puerto Rico. Enrique has been serving new takes on classic Puerto Rican dishes in San Juan since 2007, and this year, made the James Beard Award Best Chefs in America nominee list yet again.
We caught up with the chef at this year's Nantucket Wine & Food Festival, where we tried a special dish created on site and chatted about his food, his feelings, and his future.
Let’s start with the dish you prepared for us today.
It’s an avocado papaya salsa. You know what, it will be ten years at my restaurant in a week and I think I first made that mix fourteen or fifteen years ago and it just goes with everything – here, when it’s really cold, and in the summer it’s beautiful. In Puerto Rico, I use it all year around.
I put that papaya salsa over a whole, fried deboned snapper the top and I had that since I opened up and I can’t take it off the menu. If I take it off the menu people get mad at me! They’re like, ‘What are you doing?’ Then the salsa itself – it’s like you can get to any party with that. If there are chips, you have chips; if there’s fish, you have fish.