Q&A: Juan Pedrosa of Yvonne's

Yvonne’s Interior - Where to Eat and Drink in Downtown Boston

Juan Pedrosa launched his restaurant career in the sixth grade with a job at a Greek pizzeria and hasn’t stopped since. After a stint at the New England Culinary Institute, work as a sous chef at Trade, and a spell spent as product manager for local English muffin maker Stone & Skillet, Pedrosa stands tall as executive chef at Yvonne’s. The 2017 James Beard Rising Star Chef of the Year nominee talks up the magic consistency of Singapore noodles and rising to the challenge of honing technique.

Boston’s best dish:

This is always a tough question to answer, but a big bowl of Singapore Noodles from Peach Farm gets my taste buds going. Hot, spicy, and curry rice noodles are wok-fried and mixed with chunks of beef, shrimp, char siu pork, and tons of vegetables. It’s easily one of the best and most consistent dishes I’ve enjoyed over and over again. I also have friends who order the noodles without meat/seafood, so that’s an option too. The combo rocks, and anyone can enjoy it.

Guilty pleasure food:

Although I’m a big fan of tacos, nachos have my heart. There’s something about how no two bites of a nacho are the same. One tastes a little saltier, while another is a bit cheesier, and then you get a burst of a jalapeño (pickled, of course). Can’t forget the tart flavor you get from the sour cream—it’s all amazing.

Kitchen playlist:

I tend to listen to a variety of music throughout the day, but bands like Thin Lizzy, the Stones, and Guns N’ Roses get it started. Mick Taylor, Stevie Ray, and Hendrix all shine through as well. I’m a fan of anything with a guitar—lots of riffing and feel-good music. I prefer some heavier tunes from Metallica to get us ready for the night.

Favorite food destination:

Valencia. It’s full of incredible architecture, medieval castles, art, and great music. It’s nestled close to the Mediterranean Sea. Nothing on earth compares to crushing a bottle of wine or two while eating paella.

Cooking inspiration:

Several things really. Learning and teaching are the most important. Understanding technique and applying those methods is always a great challenge. Sourcing and connecting with passionate individuals who trust me to work with their product is special. Reaction is another big one. There’s something about creating a moment for someone that makes them say, “Wow, I wish I could cook like this,” or “How did you make this?” that always makes me realize we are doing something right and gets me excited to run right back into the kitchen and create something new.

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