We’re back and better than the viral recipe video your grandma shared on her Facebook page! Bwog has teamed up with the Food Pantry at Columbia to produce a four-part series of cooking videos, using ingredients that are found in the Food Pantry at Columbia. The chef for this episode is Andrew “Drew” Placido, and he’s cooking lentil and garbanzo bean tostadas!

Interview with the Chef

First of all, give us a quick introduction!

My name is Andrew Placido, I’ve been a GS student since the Spring of 2017 and I’m majoring in Sustainable Development. I’m currently taking a leave of absence to focus on a business opportunity, but during my time at GS I served as the MilVets Director of Communications.

Why and how did you get involved with the Food Pantry at Columbia and what inspired you to make these cooking videos for them?

I was approached about the Food Pantry by my friend, and the Vice Chair of Events of the Food Pantry at Columbia, Matt Linsky. He pitched the idea of making videos for students and teaching them how to cook recipes using the ingredients one would receive from a Food Pantry disbursement. Given that my foundation is in food sustainability and cooking, it was a no-brainer that I wanted to get involved in. I come from a background where not a lot was available and we had to make it last for as long as possible, so it felt important for me to share any knowledge I had with people who might be in the same position.

How did you get into cooking, and what’s your favorite thing to cook?

I started cooking when I was about 12 years old by learning from my grandmother. Professionally, I have been cooking in NYC since 2015 and just recently opened up my own restaurant in Brooklyn. I don’t know that I have a favorite thing to cook to be truthful. I do enjoy a challenge though and find that my best work comes from being put in a situation to work with specific ingredients rather than trying to recreate a recipe.

Where does this recipe come from? Do you use cookbooks for inspiration, or is it all trial and error?

I think I had recently come back from Mexico around the time this video was shot and was still feeling a little inspired by Mexican cuisine. Tostadas are a common dish in Mexico, and for my work as the perfect vessel for just about anything. They’re crunchy, they’re filling, and they can go a really long way for little money. As far as cookbooks go, I try to stay away from them. It’s always nice to have a pocket full of recipes, but I find cooking to be much more rewarding when the dish is a reflection of your own creativity. Some of the best dishes have been conceptualized by making mistakes in the kitchen, so it’s definitely a lot of trial and error. And by the smell of things over here, there isn’t too much error.

Lentil and Garbanzo Bean Tostadas

  • Tortillas, 4 (2 per serving)
  • Vidalia onions, about 2
  • Garlic, 2 cloves
  • Carrot, about 1
  • Red cabbage, 1
  • Cilantro, about ½ – 1 cup
  • Rice vinegar, about 1-2 teaspoons
  • Salt and pepper
  • Sour cream, about ½ cup
  • Lime, 1
  • Olive oil
  • Rice, 2 cups
  • Water, 6 cups
  • Lentils, about 1 ½ cups
  • Garbanzo beans, 1 can
  • Canola oil, about 1 ½ – 2 cups (for frying)
  • Cotija cheese (optional)
  • Jalapenos (optional)
  1. Cut each of the tortillas into smaller circles, using a small plate to trace. Put aside.
  2. Peel and dice the Vidalia onions into small cubes, and peel and slice the garlic; set both aside. Julienne the carrot and set aside as well. Tear and cut up the red cabbage leaves. Dice the cilantro.
  3. Add the red cabbage, carrots, and cilantro into a small mixing bowl. Add the rice vinegar and a dash of salt to the bowl. Combine and set aside.
  4. In another bowl, add the sour cream. Peel and dice the skin of the lime and add to the bowl with the sour cream. Squeeze the skinned lime into the mixture and add salt and pepper. Combine and set aside.
  5. Add the olive oil to a saucepan on low heat and once heated, add half of the diced garlic. Add the rice and 3 cups of water to the mix and stir. Let the rice cook. Drain when finished.
  6. Add the other 3 cups of water to a large pan on low medium heat. Add the lentils and stir. In a smaller pan, add more olive oil and heat up the onions and remaining garlic. Once sautéed, add the mix to the lentils and stir. Add the garbanzo beans. Let cook.
  7. Add the canola oil to a sautée pan on high heat. Once heated, add the tortillas to the pan and remove when browned on both sides.
  8. Add two of the tortillas to a plate, alongside a cup of the rice. Add the garbanzo bean-lentil mix to the tortillas, topping with the cabbage-carrot slaw, the zesty sour cream, and jalapenos and cotija cheese to taste. Enjoy!