As a cook, a chef, a food writer and now a chef instructor, I have never felt guarded about sharing what I know. There are few secrets in cooking, gastronomy being a mixture of science, culture and personal preference. My personal philosophy has always been that I am only as good as what I can teach, my satisfaction found in those moments when an expression of delight comes over someone’s face as they watch tortillas poof beautifully over a skillet or when pillowy tamales line up next to each other, perfectly even in size.

Seeing students achieve a skill previously thought of as outside of their reach is far better than most things I can put on a plate. And yet, there has been one recipe I’ve refused to share, even with my own father, for more than a decade.