Chef Q&A: Alejandro Castaneda

Amigo's Head Chef Alejandro Castaneda's signature fajita combo for 2 Steak and chicken fajita includes grilled steak and chicken strips topped with sauteed green bell pepper and onion, along with spanish rice and refried beans served in a sizzling skillet.

Jenine C. Ouillette/Special to the Eagle

Amigo's Head Chef Alejandro Castaneda's signature fajita combo for 2 Steak and chicken fajita includes grilled steak and chicken strips topped with sauteed green bell pepper and onion, along with spanish rice and refried beans served in a sizzling skillet.

Amigo's Marco Island

1000 N Collier Blvd, Marco

Head Chef, Amigo’s of Marco

1000 North Collier Blvd., Marco Island. Phone: 394-2221. Open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday; 4 to 9 p.m. Saturday; and closed Sunday. Most major credit cards accepted.

---

Began working at present restaurant?

When the family immigrated to Naples, I first worked at the Amigo’s Restaurant on the East Trail and did my training there before I began working as a chef at the Amigo’s of Marco about three years agos.

What made you become a chef/cook?

I come from Mexico Distrito Federal, something like Washington D.C. and Mexico City is the capital. I found work as a dishwasher in the Guadalajara Grill kitchen and could see the food prepared by the chef. He noticed my interest and asked if I wanted to be his kitchen helper. I started as prep and then was promoted to cook.

What was your first restaurant job?

In Mexico City, the Guadalajara Grill, but in the United States it was the Amigo’s on the East Trail in Naples.

How long have you been cooking professionally?

Almost five years.

How would you describe your cooking style?

Traditional Mexican home cooking.

What is your most popular dish?

For lunch I would say the avocado salad which some customers order as a side with dinner. Our Platillos de Huevos (egg omelets) are also popular. For dinner, it’s certainly any of our fajitas, pork steak, chicken or shrimp or a combo choice of two. We also have an early dinner wine special, two-for-one glass from 4 to 6 p.m.

What is your favorite snack?

Our fresh tortilla chips that we make and fry here and our guacamole that we make fresh for every order. They’re also very popular with our customers.

What is your secret seasoning?

Cilantro in Mexican cooking is not so secret, but we use only the best freshest bunches of cilantro. The dried has no flavor.

Do you cook at home? If so, what would we always find in your freezer?

Steaks, I like to grill on my day off.

What is your specialty? Why?

Mexican cooking is very simple, but using only the freshest and best quality ingredients, meat and seafood makes Amigo’s special. Also, our beef fajitas are made with flap beef steak, not the thinner skirt steak.

What annoys you most in the kitchen?

Not finding something I need that’s been used and put back in the wrong place.

What do you enjoy most about your profession?

I love to cook, and I like to use my cooking skills to make good Mexican food that our customers enjoy eating so much that they come back and bring their friends!.

© 2008 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Links

Comments » 0

Be the first to post a comment!

Share your thoughts

Comments are the sole responsibility of the person posting them. You agree not to post comments that are off topic, defamatory, obscene, abusive, threatening or an invasion of privacy. Violators may be banned. Click here for our full user agreement.

Comments can be shared on Facebook and Yahoo!. Add both options by connecting your profiles.

Features