Featured Chef Oscar Melendez, Latitudes Restaurant
May 01, 2013 09:11PM ● Published by Corinne Moore
What's the most important piece of your culinary past that has led you to where you are now? Chef Oscar Melendez credits his mother Leticia Melendez for his success. “My mother worked in a restaurant, and I was able to see firsthand how satisfying it was to have a strong work ethic as well as please customers. She got me motivated.”
Experience: The friendly chef has always been around the food and hospitality industry while growing up. Chef Melendez started his personal journey at 15 years old. The passion for cooking was undeniable and he has worked in restaurant positions since.
What is it about cooking that you love? Chef Melendez beamed as he explained that “I love seeing my customers smile when they enjoy their meal.”
Signature dish: Rib eye. “It’s very simple to cook a rib eye steak,” Melendez said. “Don’t put any weight on it as it cooks. If it’s cooked right, it will create its own sauce.” Customers crave Melendez’s rice side dish. “I cook it the way my mother does,” he said. “People who normally don’t like rice will tell me how much they enjoyed it.”
Have you cooked for anyone famous? Yes. Robert Irvine from the popular Food Network show “Restaurant: Impossible” and “Dinner: Impossible” dined on Melendez’s fried shrimp dish. “And he told me he loved it.” Melendez also says he enjoys cooking during special occasions at home.
Please share a special cooking tip or technique to share with our readers. Chef Melendez says to “use egg whites and seasoned flour when breading items to fry.”
In the Latitudes kitchen: “We make everything from scratch and only use the freshest seafood to create quality dishes,” he said. New on the menu are Grilled Mahi and Rib Eye Fried Steak. Two other favorite dishes are the oysters and fried shrimp.