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!
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.