HOUSTON – The culinary path was set early for chef Hilda Ysusi, always with an eye to one day own her own restaurant.
Born in Mexico City, Ysusi pursued her culinary passions early, traveling to Switzerland in 2005 to study in a Le Cordon Bleu-sanctioned culinary and pastry program while she was still a teenager.
Ysusi staged at Jean Georges and DB Bistro Moderne in 2009 and received two degrees from the renowned Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, in baking and pastry arts and culinary arts in 2010 and 2012, respectively.
Wanting to expand her repertoire, Ysusi externed at series of diverse concepts: Bourbon Steakhouse, Nestle Professional and finally Sushi Maki, where she was hired as a corporate chef in 2014.
Ysusi’s roots, plus her experience in a variety of different cuisines, has led to her modern, yet classical style, now seen in her vibrant concept, Broken Barrel.
We caught up with Ysusi for a little candid Q&A.
Q&A with chef Hilda Ysusi
What did you have for dinner last night?
Pesto pasta and raw veggie salad
Favorite restaurant in the Greater Houston Area?
If you could dine at any place in the world tonight, where would that be?
Favorite ingredient to work with and why?
Lime, because it’s so versatile and it helps balance dishes in a beautiful way
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
If you left Houston to cook somewhere else, where would you want to go?
I would go into the research and development area of the food industry.
What are you most excited about right now and why?
Natural wines, because of their flavor profile and how they pair with food.
What's your favorite breakfast item?
What’s your favorite type of music to listen to when cooking?
If you could cook for anyone, who would it be?
What’s your favorite ethnic cuisine?
What’s the strangest request you’ve ever had from a diner?
To make a shrimp fried rice order for their dog
What’s the best part about being a chef?
Making people happy through food
What’s the most challenging part of being a chef?
The long hours
What’s your favorite “guilty pleasure” food?
Warm popcorn with dill and parmesan cheese