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Cuban-styled fried rice with Lechon Asado

Updated: Apr 16, 2020

Chef: Alejandro Arenas

Position: Line Cook, Macchialina. Miami Beach, Florida

Instagram: @siralejandr0

What do you want to share with the world?

At the end of the day, I'd like to use my position of chef to positively impact the world. Starting from my friends, family, staff, guests, food purveyors, farmers to my community, city, state, country, and around the world. I wish to provide peace and comfort through my food, build meaningful relationships, and being part of organizations locally and internationally to bring awareness to topics such as depression, addiction, abuse, world hunger, climate change, agriculture and where exactly we are headed as a community, society, and a planet. Food is what enabled me to grow, to fight, to learn, to forgive, to listen, to understand, and to love. I am sharing with you my story and my ideas, however, this is not about me. It is about us as a planet, as one, as the human race.

How did you get started?

I was working retail just to have a job and make some money, however, it definitely didn't fuel me in any way. I was 20 years old. My older sister recommended I check out a restaurant owned by a successful and up and coming chef at the time, so I did. I did not second guess it, I just believed it was a good idea. I originally did not want to become a chef, I didn't even understand what it meant to be a chef, or to even work in a kitchen. Growing up as a child I was timid, shy, and did not like to express myself. One day in kindergarten we had a lunch break. I was always quiet and stayed to myself. My teacher noticed I wasn't eating. I was just staring at the food. She came over with a big smile and urged me to eat. I looked at her a bit confused but then a felt a comfortable presence, a safety net, where I didn't have to worry about what others felt or said, I was protected. I could dig in and eat with all being, proud of who I was and what I represented. So I did. It gave me a sense of hope, of faith, that everything would be ok. From then on it didn't matter if I was feeling sad or having a bad day because everything was going to be ok. That is what made me fall in love with food, knowing I can transfer love, peace, and safety through my cooking to others.

What was your first position?

The first position I held in a restaurant was busser. I never saw myself as just a busser, I saw myself as part of a team looking to contribute in any way I could. So I quickly jump to the server, host, and food runner. Being in those positions I started to understand what it meant to work in a kitchen. I saw the hard work, I saw the camaraderie, and I saw the passion. I knew that's where I wanted to be.


Alejandro's mother would make it a ritual to order Chinese food for his birthday starting at age 8. His family would all gather around the table, tell stories, laugh, and eat. Being of Cuban descent, Lechon was always a big part of his grandma's cooking and at family gatherings, especially on Christmas and New Year's.

Cuban-styled fried rice with Lechon Asado

Marinade for pork

1 cup of lime juice.

1/4 cup orange juice.

2 tsp olive oil.

1/2 garlic.

1 1/2 tsp cumin.

2 tsp salt.

1 1/2 tsp oregano.

3/4 tsp black pepper.

Pour over pork, seal, and refrigerate for 24hrs. After cook pork at 300F for 3 1/2 hours. Then raise temp to 350 for another 30 min or until nice char, crispy texture. Rest, then shred pork.

Mojo for pork

1 cup olive oil.

1 cup of lime juice.

1/2 cup orange juice.

1/2 garlic.

3/4 tsp cumin.

1 tsp salt.

3/4 tsp oregano.

1/2 tsp black pepper.

Half bunch of cilantro chopped.

Sautee garlic within olive oil. Do not brown. Then add juices and spices off heat. Mix and pour over pork.

Fried rice

1lb jasmine rice.

1 bunch of scallion.

1/2 sweet onion.

1 carrot.

1/2 garlic.

3/4 cup bean sprouts.

4 whole eggs.

Veggie oil.

1 cup of frozen peas.

2 whole ripe yellow plantains.

6 tbsp soy sauce

Dab of butter

Cook rice on the side. Cook eggs, put to side. Add in pot veggie oil, carrots and onions. Sweat for a few minutes then add garlic. Add the rice to the pot with carrots, onions, and garlic. Add soy sauce, peas, bean sprouts and eggs. Mix butter in and top with scallions. Mix the rice and the Lechon Asado.

“After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relations.”

Oscar Wilde, A Woman of No Importance

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