Welcome back to our weekly feature highlighting brothers who throw down in the kitchen. This week's chef is a husband and father of two who fell in love with cooking at the urging of his wife.
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Name: Astor Chambers
Occupation: Footwear Business Director/Jordan Band, a division of NIKE, Inc.
Hometown: New York, NY
ESSENCE.COM: As a fashion-forward guy, how did you get your start in the kitchen?
ASTOR CHAMBERS: Well, my passion for cooking came about as a need to STAY ALIVE. If I don’t cook, I don’t eat. My wife has no plans on stepping in and even flipping a hamburger in the near future. I learned how to really cook over the last five years because my wife, a very smart woman, thought it would be a genuis idea to send me to culinary school in New York to further enhance my very small arsenal. That was then, and now I am the consummate dinner party host!
ESSENCE.COM: (Laughs.) What do you love most about cooking?
CHAMBERS: I take great pleasure in surprising people with the variety of dishes I’m able to prepare and their reaction upon tasting the food. Cooking truly gives me an opportunity to unwind and be creative in a world outside of the industry I work in. It also is a great way to show your love for others. My two daughters have come to expect daddy preparing pancakes and bacon on Saturday mornings with their help, and they think it’s one of the best things in the world; that alone is a major motivation to keep it going!
ESSENCE.COM: That's great. And what's your signature dish and big tip for cooking?
CHAMBERS: The closest thing I have to a signature dish is “My Momma’s Pork.” My mother is from Jamaica and makes an amazing pork dish which I acquired the recipe for and added my own spin to. There’s always something else out there to learn to cook and an opportunity to add your own twist!
Astor Chambers’s “My Momma’s Pork”
2 lbs pork carnitas
Salt, pepper and garlic powder
One can of chicken broth
2 beef bouillon cubes
7 to 10 mashed garlic cloves
1 chopped onion
Take the 2 lbs of pork carnitas and season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. In a bowl, create the sauce for the pork which consists of chicken broth, oyster sauce, 2 beef bouillon cubes, 7 to 10 mashed garlic cloves, fresh thyme, fresh sage and a chopped onion.
Now, you’re ready to cook the pork. First, cover it in flour and lightly fry each piece/side in some cooking oil. Once the sides are golden brown, pour the sauce into the large deep pan. Then, cover the meat and place on high heat on the stove. Cook for 30 minutes on high and then bring the heat down to medium for the next 30 to 45 minutes. This will give it the slow-cook finish that will have the pork falling apart once you stick your fork in it. Enjoy!