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Interview with Robyn Almodovar
by Armando Diaz

Coming from a half Puerto Rican, half Italian background
Robyn’s childhood was filled with culture, vibrancy, and a
deeply ingrained passion for food. A graduate of Le Cordon
Bleu College of Culinary Arts, she worked at several
respectable restaurants in South Florida including The
Forge and Danny Devito's (Devito South Beach) before
obtaining an Executive Sous Chef position at the Royal Palm
Hotel. However, she was missing that “HEAT” in the kitchen
so she purchased a 24 foot food truck and founded “Palate
Party” with her wife and partner Faiza.
 After just three months “Palate Party” was ranked South
Florida’s #3 Food Truck.  Robyn prides herself on using
locally sourced and fresh ingredients. Whether she is
catering in the private home of a celebrity or hosting viewing
parties from her food truck of Fox’s Hell’s Kitchen where she
is a contestant.  Robyn always ensures that there is a party
in the mouth every time!
 She made some time for us and was a palate of very
honest and spicy information herself!

Robyn tell us about your background, did you cook
growing up?
I am half Puerto Rican and half Italian, which makes me a
very saucy and spicy individual. My maternal grandmother,
nanny, started me off in the kitchen rolling meatballs at the
age of 2. Yes, I was playing with balls at an early age but that
quickly came to an end. When I was 11 it was then my
responsibility to make dinner for the family, a tradition
passed down my sister. If only she knew what trajectory she
was setting me up on…

What are your fondest food memories from childhood?  
I was very particular about what I ate as a child. My mother
said I would eat any vegetable until about 4 years old, and
then I became a very picky eater. My fondest memories are
the traumatic ones where I was forced to eat the foods I
despised.

Did you play any sports in high school? How do you stay
active these days?
As a child and during high school I played softball and
basketball. I was also in my high school’s marching band. Now I stay active by dancing and jumping around on the top of my mobile café,
Palate Party.

What made you decide to become a professional chef?
I didn't decide to become a chef until I was 24. When I was enrolled in cosmetology school I would see those late night infomercials for Le
Cordon Bleu. I believed it was a sign from up above and then I enrolled.

Describe or define for us your style of cooking. Are there any ingredients that define your cooking?
My style of cooking is eclectic, spicy, and sexy- a party in your mouth every time.
I love garlic, extra virgin olive oil, and locally sourced tomatoes. The ingredients that best describe me are micro greens- bright, colorful, rich
with texture, robust and an intense flavor- just like me.

Do you buy items from the store specifically or do you prefer having them delivered from a vendor?
I buy all my items personally at certain stores and markets. What I purchase varies depending on what I am serve on my menu. I try to
purchase locally sourced produce, seafood and meats and practice sustainable cooking as much as possible.

What kind of music do you like to listen to while cooking, if any?
Anyone who has worked with me in the past knows that music is always pumping in the kitchen...I think that is one of the reasons I got fired
from a job. Just like my food, I have a very eclectic taste in music. Anything with good bass and high energy gets the job done.

What is your favorite kitchen gadget and why?
My favorite kitchen gadget is the emulsion blender. You can do everything with that thing from mixing to kneading to chopping. It’s a multi-
purpose kitchen tool.  

What has been your funniest kitchen incident?
Have you been watching Hell's Kitchen? There were numerous comedic instances.

What is your favorite food to cook with?
My favorite food to cook with is garlic; it can be savory, sweet, spicy, bitter anything you want it to
be.

Tell us about your experience on Hell’s Kitchen, what was the greatest highlight?
The greatest highlight of Hell's Kitchen to me thus far is the first challenge- being able to score
the first win and point for the ladies’ team and of course earning the black jacket.
….and what could you have done without?
All of the drama! Yes, I know I was a part of some of it and that it makes for good TV, but it’s a little
exhausting.   

Tell us also about your food trucks, where can we find them, what sets them apart?
Palate Party is based out of Hollywood, Florida.  You can find us at www.palateparty.com or
facebook.com/palateparty. Palate Party utilizes locally sourced ingredients and is the first female-
owned, non-dessert food truck in South Florida as well as the only lesbian-owned food truck in
South Florida. The mobile café is the only truck with a custom stage built on top for live
entertainment, dancing and musical performances. We have also catered private events for
producer Timbaland, partnered with Kiehl's and DJ Irie’s Foundation and served John Corbett
(Sex and the City, My Big Fat Greek Wedding) and Travie McCoy (Gym Class Heroes).

Are you an extremely adventurous eater? Are there any foods you won't eat or even try?
After eating testicles on Hell's kitchen, I think I can eat anything. The tongue wasn't that bad either.

What’s a restaurant in Miami that you are constantly returning to and why?
I hate to say this, I really don't get to eat out as much as I’d like too; I am always working, but I am
a sucker for great Italian food and yummy steaks. I like to go to Casa D’ Angelo Ristorante in
Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I am also looking forward to sampling the cuisine at 1500 in the  
Eden Rock in Miami Beach, Florida.

When you’re at home, what do you like to eat?
I love making Italian food; I make a great meatball.

What is your guilty pleasure? What do you snack on when no one else is around because
you don't want anyone to know?
The four C’s: chocolate, cake, cookies and candy

What would you say to someone who's totally intimidated in the kitchen?
If you are intimidated in the kitchen we can smell that a mile away. Be confident not cocky. Be
humble and honest; most important, believe in yourself.

What is the best cooking tip you might have for a novice?
Always say, “Yes Chef,” no matter what.

What is the best compliment someone could give to you?
The best thing someone can tell me is that they are dreaming about my food.

You can catch Robyn in all NEW episodes of Hell’s Kitchen which premiered on
August 13th @ the new time slot of 9pm EST/8pm CST.
For more information on Palate Party, please visit the link below.  

Sources
Palate Party (http://palateparty.com/, facebook.com/palateparty)
FOX’s Hell’s Kitchen Show (http://www.fox.com/hellskitchen/full-episodes/28608529/)
Robyn Almodovar’s BIO/Hell’s Kitchen
(http://www.fox.com/hellskitchen/bios/contestants/robyn-almodovar)

References
The Forge Restaurant - Miami Beach (http://www.theforge.com/)
Royal Palm Hotel (http://www.royalpalmmiamibeach.com/)
Casa D’ Angelo Ristorante (http://www.casa-d-angelo.com/FtLauderdale.aspx)
1500 Degrees @ Eden Rock (http://www.1500degreesmiami.com/)
DJ Irie Foundation (http://www.iriefoundation.org/)



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Palate Party utilizes
locally sourced
ingredients and is the
first female-owned,
non-dessert food
truck in South Florida
as well as the only
lesbian-owned food
truck in South
Florida. The mobile
café is the only truck
with a custom stage
built on top for live
entertainment,
dancing and musical
performances. We
have also catered
private events for
producer Timbaland,
partnered with Kiehl's
and DJ Irie’s
Foundation and
served John Corbett
(Sex and the City, My
Big Fat Greek
Wedding) and Travie
McCoy (Gym Class
Heroes).