moqueca is an authentic Brazilian dish

Brazilian Flavor: Chef James Finds Culinary Inspiration in Bahia

There’s always something new to learn — that is my usual response when people ask me what I like most about being a chef. I could spend the rest of my life in the kitchens here at ICE and learn something new everyday, continuing to better understand the ingredients I use on a daily basis. Sometimes, however, you’ve got to get away to gain new culinary perspectives.

Recently I had the opportunity to travel to Brazil with my wife, Brooke, and our two kids. We spent two weeks immersed in the food and culture of Bahia, a state in northeast Brazil on the Atlantic Coast.

Our home base was the incredible UXUA Casa Hotel and Spa in the town of Trancoso. Each day of our trip was spent in the kitchen with local chefs, learning traditional dishes — moqueca, the traditional fish stew of Bahia; bobó de camarão, a creamy dish of shrimp and coconut; acarajé, black-eyed pea fritters — all while drinking more than a couple caipirinhas.

Now that we're back in New York, we can share these amazing flavors with students. This past weekend, we welcomed 16 students into the kitchens at ICE for a new recreational cooking class: The Foods of Brazil. For a little glimpse of our adventure in Brazil, check out the video below.

Ready to broaden your culinary horizons with Chef James? Click here for more information on ICE’s career programs.