Monday, August 22, Huahua’s Taqueria, 1211 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach
Chef Todd Erickson continues his partnership with The Schwan Food CompanyÂ in their mission to reinvent frozen foods with a Taste Tour right here in Miami, featuring Toddâ€™s Latin flavors and cooking tips to spice up Schwanâ€™s Home Service products.Â Schwanâ€™s Chef Collective is helping Schwan to change perceptions of frozen food and deliver great-tasting food. The collective features Kitchen Collaboratives and Taste Tours in locations across the country with a focus on ingredients, sourcing and preparation.
Before he became part of the Schwanâ€™s Chef Collective, Chef Todd was familiar with the company because his grandmother always â€œkept Schwanâ€™s Ice cream at homeâ€. Todd was excited to get involved when approached with the partnership because Schwanâ€™s philosophy of not manipulating food so flavors can shine on their own aligns with his own beliefs. Chef Todd says that, â€œSchwan calls themselves unapologetically frozen, which [he thinks] is really cool because it means that the best quality ingredients are harvested at the peak of freshness. Freezing food really is the oldest and most efficient way of preserving food, and itâ€™s important that we get back to the basics of food to make it fresh and flavorful.â€
Executive Chef at Huahuaâ€™s Taqueria and an extensive traveler, Chef Todd brings flavors of Latin America to life for Schwanâ€™s. He had â€œso much fun crafting different tastes and flavorsâ€ working with Chef Deb Hey and using some techniques he perfected from his experience in South Florida. He says that, â€œas a chef, itâ€™s important to get out of your comfort zone. I have gone to Lima, Peru, Havana, Cuba, up and down the coast of Costa Rica, Canada, and Mexico and in all these experiences I have seen many new ingredients and some old ingredients all used in different ways. You get to see whatâ€™s on trend and what other taste-makers are doing around the world.â€ Keeping an open mind and a willingness to try anything new has pushed his career to remarkable heights, encouraging him to experiment with new ideas from skewers to liquid nitrogen ice cream. Chef Todd wants to â€œdetermine what really makes things taste great.â€ Cooking for about 15 years, he says that â€œevery experience is something to learn from. Culinary school, interaction with other chefs, and eating at different restaurants helps the thought processes behind a menu. Whatâ€™s cool about the Schwanâ€™s Chef Collective is that we are able to contribute our knowledge and learn from other chefs across the country. If youâ€™re not learning, youâ€™re not progressing and itâ€™s great to get education and pass along what you know. My whole career has been learning and having new experiences, using flavorful styles and recognizable foods that are visually appealing but simple and tasty.â€
Facing every day with passion and excitement, Toddâ€™s advice to young chefs is â€œto practice, promote, create new ideas, and get out of your comfort zone.â€ In his extensive career, he does not have one dish that defines him; they all come together to make him who he is as a chef today. Each one has a story behind it because â€œif heâ€™s not excited, then how are the guests going to be excited? A menu is not just random, itâ€™s personal.â€
Todd loves contemporary American food, regional food and good Southern soul food, but he isnâ€™t afraid to try other styles like Japanese or Mexican. The Schwanâ€™s Chef Collective partners with other chefs including Food Networkâ€™s Jet Tila, who brings Pan-Asian inspired flavors into the mix. The Schwanâ€™s Chef Collectiveâ€™s first Taste Tour in St. Louis, MO focused on ideating pizza toppings for Schwanâ€™s Foodservice Division, and the second Taste Tour at Chef Toddâ€™s restaurant Huahuaâ€™s Taqueria focused on cooking tips and recipes for Schwanâ€™s Home Service Division. The Schwanâ€™s Chef Collective aims to explore all types of food, finding ways to make it wholesome yet indulgent.
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