Mimi Isles is the 2012 winner of the Olive Garden Restaurants contest “Cocinando un Sueño.” Mimi won a $10,000 culinary scholarship along with a trip to Italy, where she visited Olive Garden’s Culinary Institute of Tuscany and other sites in Rome and the Tuscany region of Italy.
Mimi has been cooking since she was 8 years old. Raised in the Dominican Republic by a family of cooks, she loved being in the kitchen whenever she could, especially after school. As Mimi got older she realized that cooking was more than an interest or hobby but something she wanted to do for the rest of her life.
Over the years she held a variety of jobs in the clinical field. Mimi worked as a Clinical Research Coordinator at Columbia University in New York City, and as a Clinical Trial Associate at Progenics Pharmaceuticals in Westchester, NY. For the last five years she has worked as a Take Home Chef and caterer on a part-time basis. She then decided to follow her passion and fulfill her dreams full time.
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Mimi Isles’ passion has taken her as far as promoting the freshest products, creating simple and delicious recipes, performing basic Spanish-style cooking classes, and educating adults and children about the value of fresh products. And after visiting Olive Garden’s Culinary Institute, she is now able to share the importance of eating together as a family — something that’s easily forgotten in modern, busy life. After visiting the Culinary Institute she knew things would never be the same, the culinary skills she learned from the distinguished Olive Garden chefs, the passion of food and importance of fresh products are now part of her DNA. Zona had just one question for Mimi!
What is the most popular Latino dish for the holidays? How long it takes to make?
The most popular Latino dish for the holidays is Roast Piglet. It takes about 5 hours to cook accompanied by Harvest Rice which is white rice topped with scallion, cranberry, corn, and bacon bits. We can’t leave out Spanish Potato Salad and of course we all love Coquito no matter who you are and this recipe takes about 10 minutes to make.
To try this at home or find more recipes check out Mimi’s Fusions of Flavor.