Food + Dining Main

Checking in with Gloria Jordan

Bound for culinary adventures in her native Cuba, the charismatic chef let us in on some of the fun.

BY August 19, 2016


About to lead two trips for local foodies to the island nation of her youth, Gloria Jordan of Gloria’s La Trattoria Café Napoli and Mermaid Garden Café in Fort Myers, sat down to talk about what she loves to cook, her family recipes and why Cuba is the place to be right now. (If you’re interested in joining her Oct. 1 or Nov. 1 trips, contact her through La Trattoria at 239-931-0050.)

What ingredient have you been into lately?

I’m teaching people to eat beets. Now they are trying it, they’re coming back and eating beets. We even do beets lemonade. It’s so floral, it’s amazing. If you do it raw and you blend it with lemon and honey, the natural flavor of the beet is very floral. People don’t realize that beets are naturally sweet.

What is your favorite dish to cook?

My arroz con pollo. It’s my family’s recipe. It’s heaven. One of my best dishes. It’s on the menu at the Trattoria but it’s not quite my family’s recipe—because I keep that for when I bring people to my house.

Are you serving any Cuban food at your restaurants?

Yes. Influence, yes. Dishes, no. How could I explain someone that it’s Mediterranean and have black beans and rice? But we do have arroz con pollo, and tapas is a trend, so I play with that format. We had tostones stuffed with crab meat. We also have the original tapas. That’s what we grew up with—Cubans are originally from Spain—my grandparents were from Spain. The mojos, the salsa verde. That all came from our grandparents. They just have different names.

Tell us about these trips you’re organizing.

I was born in Cuba. I go to Cuba every year. I go every year, and I would love to have business in Cuba. The editor for People magazine in Spanish messaged me and said, “Hey tell me what places to eat there.” I still have my Cuban passport, and I go every year. I took a group of people in April. I made a big party in Havana as a welcome for them. The chef, he did Cuban food. And now everybody wants to go to Cuba with me. I stay in resorts only if I have to, but most of the time I rent amazing houses and the hospitality is beyond. I’m planning two trips now, one on Oct. 1 and one on Nov. 1—there are still spots left. Most of the people going are customers from my restaurant. I’m so excited.


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