Flavors to savor: South American chef dishes up deliciousness on State Street

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Vivian Delgado, the head chef at Masa restaurant in Lindon, lets her food speak for itself.  (Photo by Leah Aldous)

Vivian Delgado, the head chef at Masa restaurant in Lindon, lets her food speak for itself. (Photo by Leah Aldous)

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Foodie Fact

In the moodie for more foodie? Check out this Q&A with Vivian Delgado.

Masa means…

It’s a dough made from corn flour that is used in several items on the restaurant’s menu.

Favorite Colombian dish

Colombian dish

Arepas y bandeja paisa. It’s served with pork, rice, plantains, fried eggs and hogao sauce.

Favorite food TV show

Kitchen Nightmares with Gordon Ramsay

One dish I can’t perfect

I have a love/hate relationship with Alfredo sauce. I love to eat it but I can never make it quite right.

Craziest culinary school challenge 

Once I was given a rabbit to prepare and another time I was given frog legs. I thought there was no way I could possibly make them taste good.

Food trend I’m excited about

I’m passionate about non-processed food. I want people to feel invigorated and full of life because they know they have eaten a meal that is good for their body.

I grew up on…

Chicken and pork tamales.

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Vivian Delgado, known as Vivi by her friends and family, brings her flair for flavor to Masa in Lindon.

Born and raised in Colombia, food has always been Vivi’s forte. She grew up with nine siblings and helped her mother prepare the family feasts that brought them together at the end of the day.

“I was the only child who expressed an interest in learning how to cook,” Vivi says. “I looked forward to helping my mom and seeing my family enjoy every bite.”

When Vivi got to college, she studied marketing before she returned to her roots and chased her dream of being a chef. She set her sights on attending the Gatos Dumas School of Culinary Arts in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

“I saved my money for a year to move there!” Vivi says.

While she polished her culinary chops at school, she used the cooking skills she learned from her mother to run a catering business out of her apartment. She set up a Facebook page for her business and was soon delivering meals to families.

“It was so successful that I was able to pay for schooling on my own with no financial aid,” Vivi says.

Vivi’s food philosophy is simple and centered around using fresh and simple ingredients.

“The best tasting food is not complicated,” Vivi says. “I believe in using quality produce and meats. There are no secret ingredients.”

Vivi’s “less is more” approach is apparent in Masa’s menu, which is contained on one page, with each item described by only a handful of components.

Locally-sourced ingredients like Heber Valley Artisan Cheese, Wasatch Meats and produce from Wilkerson Farms (located in Orem) are used whenever possible. Fresh herbs, like the mint used in Vivi’s Agua Fresca, are grown on-site.

Vivi and the other chefs at Masa are also big on catering to customers. If a customer is on a special eating program (Whole 30 anyone?), Masa adapts recipes.

“I want to prepare gluten-free or sugar-free foods for people who feel best when they eat that way,” Vivi says.

Masa’s convenient location on State Street in Lindon was previously a car dealership. What was once a garage door is now a beautiful window with rustic wood detailing. Artfully strung Mason jar lights and handcrafted wooden tables give the restaurant a homegrown vibe. The large cement pads have been transformed from auto showroom to outdoor seating area.

Get Vivi’s recipe for Agua Fesca here.

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Kate Lehnhof Nash first joined Bennett Communications as a summer intern in 2009. Now, as an associate editor, she writes for magazines including Utah Valley Magazine, Utah Valley Bride and Prosper. Kate lives in Springville with her husband Steve and enjoys running, reading, sushi and her french bulldog, Chief.

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