On the Pursuit of Cooking

Sabrina Pereira

What inspires someone to pursue the art of cooking? For senior Andres Botas, watching his father whip up steaming bowls of light risotto and tender smoked ribs for dinner was his ticket to the kitchen.

“My dad was always cooking us dinner and new foods,” Botas said. “When I was younger I would watch him in the kitchen and that lead me to start cooking myself.”

Focusing his culinary talent on baked goods and pastries, Botas is known by his peers for his famous toffee, which contains a layer graham crackers and sugared butter, and is then topped off with melted chocolate and nuts. After big exams and during holidays, Botas brings his treats to school to uplift classmates.https://vimeo.com/126290791

“My toffee is probably the best thing I make. I like to bring huge bags of it to school and give it to whomever wants it. It’s a nice thing to see people light up when I give it to them,” Botas said.

Similar to most rookie chefs, Botas made his fair share of mistakes.  His piece of advice to aspiring chefs is to carefully follow directions.

“Once you learn how to follow directions, especially the order, technique comes pretty easily. Experience is the key to becoming a good chef,” Botas said.

One of Botas’ most memorable early cooking experiences was when he took on the responsibility of cooking Thanksgiving dinner for his family.

“I didn’t really know what I was doing.” Botas said,“Fortunately it went well and I didn’t dry out or burn the bird. It was really hard and I didn’t expect it to work out, but when it all came together, it looked perfect and I was really happy.”

[vimeo id=”https://vimeo.com/126855402″ size=”small” align=”left”]Currently, Botas works as a runner and server at Pacific Catch in the Corte Madera Town Center. Hoping that his experience as a server will help him land a kitchen job in the future, Botas’ continues cooking pasta, stir fry, and crème brûlée for his friends and family until opportunity in the culinary arts arises.