Q+A with Chef Mayra Rodriguez of Chucherias Hondureñas in Holly Hill, Florida
At Chucherias Hondureñas in Holly Hill, Florida, Chef Mayra Rodriguez expertly prepares refined, inspired dishes fused from elements of the cuisines in Honduras, Spain and the Caribbean. Mayra's restaurant, which moved a few years ago from Daytona Beach to a much larger location in Holly Hill, has a beautiful, breezy outdoor patio (perfect for a lunch getaway) and an inviting, high ceiling interior that transports you from the Florida Coast to a grand restaurant in Central America. The star, however, is Chef Mayra's inspired homestyle cooking and strikingly beautiful plate presentation. Each element of Chef Mayra's dishes is made from scratch and the freshness is apparent in every bite, from the hand rolled corn dough shell of the Pastelitos to the vibrant homemade sauces.
The quality, freshness and care that you taste in the food at Chucherias Hondurenas is absolutely worth every single penny of its price tag. For a meal for 2, I highly recommend starting with the tender, savory Spanish octopus dish called Pulpo al estilo Espanol or the beef empanada-like Los Pastelitos, but you cannot go wrong with a single one of the appetizers. For lunch, the sandwiches are all excellent, especially the slow roasted pork loin Cubanito, and are massive portions served with a salad, sweet plantain, cassava fries and two homemade sauces. For dinner, the stunning 8 oz. Honduran lobster tail dish Langosta y Machuca is a knockout, as is the 8 oz. Honduran beef tenderloin entrée called Catracho. You would be remiss not to save room for one of the homemade desserts, especially the Caribbean sticky toffee pudding called Budin Pegajoso with Mayra's nearly life-changing homemade toffee sauce.
If you aren't drooling already, you'll certainly be inspired by Chef Mayra's stories of her influence and motivation in the kitchen in the Q+A below:
Q: Mayra, what is your favorite cuisine or type of food other than your own?
A: The cuisine of each country seems interesting to me no matter how sophisticated or simple, each country has its own style so I do not have a specific preference and I consider myself a global cook.
Q: What was your inspiration for starting your restaurant?
A: I have worked around great professional chefs and traveled and explored major food destinations to expand my knowledge of cooking and culture. For my restaurant I wanted to put all this together and have my mother at my side as a great cook and inspiration.
Q: What is your background that got you into this industry?
A: I've gone from a small home catering business in Honduras to working under various head chefs with different specialties and styles all which left me with great inspiration.
Q: How do you like to spend your time off?
A: In my spare time I love good literature, the kind of books that fill you with knowledge and wisdom. Also, gardening and travel have always kept me active.
Q: What are you goals for your restaurant and the Holly Hill dining scene?
A: My goal is to contribute to the quality of our gastronomy and attract new investors and tourists and let them know that Holly Hill is a great community and that Chucherias Hondureñas Restaurant is part of this great neighborhood.
Q: If you could have anyone in the world dine at your restaurant who would it be?
A: Chef Thomas Keller and Chef Jamie Simpson from the Culinary Vegetable Institute and farmer Lee Jones, both are cutting edge.
Q: Where do you draw inspiration from for your menu?
A: My older sister has been my inspiration in this endless world of flavors and daily learning. In Honduras she had a catering business and I remember she got up in the early morning and woke us with those delicious aromas of freshly ground spices, fresh herbs, roasted coffee and baked bread. Also, my business partner Juan has shared his family's Spanish recipes with me and both of us have had the opportunity to travel to different countries and get to know and taste different cultures. This has been my inspiration to create a menu that is simple, unique and full of flavors, without leaving aside our Mother Earth.
Q: What is your dream travel destination?
A: India! It's a country full of mystical culture and flavors that intrigue me.
Q: Ok, last one! What is one thing you want people to know about your restaurant?
A: The best thing about Chucherias Hondureñas Restaurant is the freshness and quality of our products which enables us to create a blend of flavors especially from the Caribbean, Honduras and Spain.
Well that wraps up this Q+A session. We hope that you've learned a bit more about Mayra and her unique restaurant, a true one-of-a-kind in Volusia County. Now go see for yourself and let us know what you think!
chucheriashondurenas.com | 101 2nd St #500 Holly Hill, FL 32117 | (386) 239-0548