Meet the Winner of Your Best Spring Chicken

June 22, 2016

The votes are in—which means a big congratulations are in order to MariaR, whose Za'atar Grilled Chicken with Fava Bean and Feta Dip was voted the winner of our Your Best Spring Chicken contest! Here's a little more about the winner:

What's your least favorite food?
Beets. They taste like dirt to me. They are also so trendy that they tend to show up on every menu and basically every week in our CSA. My husband and I joke that they haunt us because anytime we do a tasting menu, anywhere in the world, beets will be in one of the dishes.

What's one recipe that's been on your bucket list for a while? Why?
Less so a recipe, more so an area of cooking. As a physician with a background in science, I have been intrigued by molecular gastronomy. I've tried a few techniques here and there but am really fascinated by the intersection of the kitchen and the lab. I had the chance to eat at Alinea a few years ago and it changed my life. Would love to delve more into it.

The cookbooks currently inspiring MariaR. Photo by MariaR

Describe your most spectacular kitchen disaster.
It was definitely the first time I tried to cook octopus with one of my friends for a small group. We had such high hopes that we could get it tender and tried all the usual internet tricks. We failed. Our husbands refused to even try it since it was harder than rubber and tasted like socks. They still make fun of us for it.

Shop the Story

What is your idea of comfort food?
A bowl of spaghetti with Marcella Hazan's tomato and butter sauce. Or Honduran breakfasts—tortillas, refried beans, eggs, avocado.

Apron or no apron?
No apron, though I really should wear one. I'm clumsy.

Honduran-style breakfasts are one of MariaR's comfort foods. Photo by MariaR

What ingredient (or cooking tip/trick/recipe) have you been excited about lately?
Indian spices. An Indian friend has been giving us cooking classes of dishes he grew up with, and the discovery of spices such as black cardamom, asafoetida, amchoor powder, and black salt has been so fun.

What do you make when you're only cooking for yourself?
Noodles or eggs. Sometimes both at the same time. One of my favorite things to make for myself is spaghetti with fried eggs. Easy, quick, delicious.

Summertime ice cream store order: Go!
Avocado gelato! The one from Capogiro in Philly is unreal.

Order Now

The Dynamite Chicken cookbook is here! Get ready for 60 brand-new ways to love your favorite bird. Inside this clever collection by Food52 and chef Tyler Kord, you'll find everything from lightning-quick weeknight dinners to the coziest of comfort foods.

Order Now

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

Food52 (we cook 52 weeks a year, get it?) is a food and home brand, here to help you eat thoughtfully and live joyfully.

1 Comment

ChefJune June 22, 2016
Congratulations and welcome, Maria! I love za'atar, but never cook wings when I can do the whole chicken - whether in pieces or altogether. I dislike the ratio of meat to bone on the wings. If you love molecular gastronomy, you would love to hang out with Herve This! His eyes light up when he starts talking on the subject. I think there are a couple of his recipes here on Food52!