Sad but true: one of our very favorite cooks is on her way out of Columbus. Isidora Diaz and her husband Raul are planning to move out of the country later this year. During her three years in Columbus, Isidora has shared favorite flavors from her home country of Chile through her writing as well as various memorable classes and dinners here at The Commissary. We’ll certainly miss her when she’s gone! We recently chatted with Isidora about her time here and her plans for the future.
How long until you leave Columbus?
It is plausible it will happen by end of May or June. Sadly, until then I won’t be in Columbus a lot because I have a trip to Spain in March and then another one to Chile in April.
Where are you heading from here?
That information is top secret until some things are confirmed. Don’t want to jinx it! But we will have to cross the pond.
What events are you most proud of organizing during your time in Columbus?
I enjoyed very much helping organize the Too Good to Waste dinners. It makes me happy and proud knowing that a community can get together to tackle food waste, a huge problem in this country’s food system. I enjoyed the sandwich pop-ups at The Commissary because they let me show off a big part of the Chilean food culture. We also raised $1,000 for a new farmers’ market in Chile through a fundraiser held in conjunction with the Columbus Slow Food chapter and Bleu & Fig.
What are some of the Chilean flavors that have gotten the best response during your time in Columbus?
The most traditional ones and the same ones we love in Chile. Anything with avocado, lots of lemon or lime juice or Merken (a seasoning made with smoked hot peppers). People have also loved the Chilean sandwiches and empanadas. Empanadas are the favorite right now. I can never make enough of them for my pop-up at Platform Beer Co every Tuesday.
What are some of your favorite stores in Columbus for shopping for ingredients for your cooking?
I like Saraga because I can find some good Peruvian and Chilean ingredients. Aldi sometimes has great deals on avocados, quinoa or organic extra virgin olive oil, all of which I use a lot. I absolutely love The Butcher and Grocer.
What are some new foods and dishes you've enjoyed eating while living in Ohio?
I have enjoyed Sichuan restaurants like Fortune or Hong Kong House a lot, because in Chile we don’t have this kind of cuisine and it blows my mind every time. Also, I’ve been slowly discovering the pleasures of the good, old-style American food. I love everything that is served on Thanksgiving. I’ve become a fanatic for apple pies, both eating them and making them. I’ve also very much enjoyed drinking local craft beers such as the ones from Rockmill Brewery and The Actual Brewing Company.
What events can we look forward to before you leave town?
I’m organizing a My Favorite Things dinner at The Commissary on April 1st, and I’m still hosting Sudamericana, my empanada pop-up, at 6 p.m. every Tuesday at Platform Brewing. I’m also hoping to organize another Too Good To Waste dinner at The Commissary before I go.
How can people continue to follow your work after you've moved?
On social media! Or buy a plane ticket and come visit me at my new home. My home will always be open to any Buckeye, same as this incredibly awesome community so warmly welcomed me and my husband during these past three years.