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NAME: Naomi
HOME: Seattle
LAST BOOK READ: "The Source", James Michener
WHAT I LISTEN TO WHEN I GO THROUGH THE CAR WASH: "Siete Canciones Populares Españolas", Manuel de Falla
BEST ADVICE I EVER GOT AFTER LOSING MY HAIR: "Go on about your business and be cute"
QUOTE: "Always drink water out of a pretty glass."

Naomi Andrade Smith was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. Her mother was from Michoacan, Mexico and so Naomi was immersed in Mexican culture and cuisine throughout her early years. Because her mother had a traditional approach to cooking, Naomi learned the basics as well as the history and context of the foods she ate as a child.

As she expanded her culinary horizons, Naomi began to travel in Mexico and study the cultural influences that flavor Mexican cuisine. It is this unique perspective that sets Naomi's food apart. She discovered that the descendants of African slaves had made an impact on the cuisine, culture and music of both Mexico's coasts. She even discovered some Sephardic influences in her mother's own cooking which included fideo, an angel-hair pasta dish; capirotada, a layered bread pudding laden with raisins, nuts and cheese; and pan dulce, a braided sweet egg bread (challah). She was intrigued to understand that the Old World - New World collision of Spanish conquistadors, Native Americans and Africans created a syncretic cuisine which is fully embodied in Mexico's national dish — mole. Some of the ingredients in mole are almonds, cumin, sesame, cloves (Spanish); plantains (African); chiles, tomatoes, chocolate and turkey (Native American).

Naomi has also made a study of contemporary trends in Mexican cuisine. Her discoveries have led her to the realization that Mexican cuisine is not static — that it absorbes influences from every part of the globe and that Mexico's chefs are in the vanguard of haute cuisine.



Food, Mexican Food, Cabeza de Vaca, Louis Moreau Gottschalk, photography, art, coffee, South East U.S. history, Sephardic History, Mexican history, photography.