Chefs to Watch: Stephanie Landis of Don Coqui in New Rochelle

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Chef Stephanie Landis

The 411 on Don Coqui.

Born: Dec. 30, 1973, Marion, Ind.

Grew up: La Fontaine, Ind.

Culinary school: Culinary Institute of America

Experience: The Bird & Bottle Inn in Garrison, MacMenamin’s Grill in New Rochelle

Cooking style: Farm-to-table

Signature dish: Pernil, our slow-cooked pork, which is authentically Puerto Rican cuisine: perfectly marinated, slow-cooked and fall-off-the-bone tender, with the delish crispy chicharron also known as crispy skin.

Why she’s one to watch: It’s hard to stand out around here, and Landis has done just that with aplomb. She makes dining exciting, and we think she’s brave to tackle a style of cuisine that no one else is. Her Puerto Rican menu is gutsy — garlicky ropa vieja, hearty arroz con pollo — but never over-the-top. And if you’ve never had pernil, a lip-smacking, finger-licking Latino take on pulled pork — here is the place to try it.

Future influence: “I focus on cooking classes, team-building events and interactive cooking parties at Don Coqui. I believe that cooking for yourself is a valuable skill … You have to eat to survive and you can’t go out to eat every night.”

Linda Lombroso contributed. Photo by Xavier Mascarenas/TJN.

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About Author

Liz Johnson is content strategist for The Journal News and lohud.com, and the founding editor of lohudfood, formerly know as Small Bites. As food editor, she won awards from the New York News Publishers Association, the Association of Food Journalists and the Associated Press. She lives in Nyack with her husband and daughter on a tiny suburban lot they call their farm — with fruit trees, an herb garden, and a yardful of lettuce, tomatoes, onions, shallots, cucumbers, zucchini, radishes, cabbage, peppers, Brussels sprouts and carrots and four big blueberry bushes.

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