MCCORMICK® FLAVOUR FORECAST® 23RD EDITION FOOD STORY FEATURED CHEF: CHEF CESAR ZAPATA

MCCORMICK® FLAVOUR FORECAST® 23RD EDITION FOOD STORY FEATURED CHEF: CHEF CESAR ZAPATA

Making waves in Miami, FL and beyond in what’s now, new, and next in Vietnamese Cajun cuisine.

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NEXT-GEN VIETNAMESE CAJUN 

CHEF CESAR ZAPATA | BIO

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Cesar Zapata is owner and chef of Phuc Yea, pronounced Fook ye(ə), a half-Cajun, half-Vietnamese restaurant serving next-level Vietnamese Cajun cuisine. Classically French trained, Cesar spent his formative years studying, eating, and cooking along the Gulf and in Houston. Cesar is joined by his business partner, Ani, who incorporates her Vietnamese heritage and family recipes throughout the menu. Together, their backgrounds combine seamlessly to create ultra-popular Vietnamese Cajun menu items like biscuits with crawfish gravy, short rib pho, and garlic noodles with oyster sauce.

Over the last 10 years, with six of those years being at his restaurant in Miami, Cesar has begun to see Vietnamese Cajun gain momentum. While it hasn’t yet reached its full potential in his eyes, he knows it’s getting closer and closer for many reasons, including that “The flavours just make so much sense.”

WORDS FROM CHEF CESAR

“One of the things I missed from Houston when moving to Miami was Vietnamese cuisine and this is one of the reasons I decided to open Phuc Yea.  Phuc Yea is an interpretation of my partners Vietnamese roots and my time spent cooking in Houston.  I fell in love with the Asian flavours and less mentioned Cajun side of Houston.

Viet-Cajun is unique because it mixes two of my favorite cuisines - the flavours, spices, and ingredients are something you don’t find in any other cultural food fusion. You’ll find spicy, sweet, sour, bitter, salty, freshness and texture in every bite.

I’ve been cooking and promoting Viet-Cajun cuisine for the past 7 years; it’s one of those underrated cuisines that has so much potential.  I am definitely looking forward to seeing more chefs mixing these two cuisines and I am excited to see what they create.

Viet-Cajun crawfish boils are one of the most delicious dishes you will have.  As this cooking style becomes more popular I see more chefs playing with fish sauce, crawfish, Cajun and pho spices, andouille sausage, as well as an assortment of fresh herbs, like rau ram (Vietnamese coriander) - hopefully, snails and frog legs as well.”