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Equal parts memoir and cookbook, To Cook Is to Love entertains and inspires as together we explore the essence of this wonderful cuisine. Once you open it, you won’t want to put it down. Aida Mondejar’s story of triumph over adversity through persistence, faith and commitment to mission provides a colorful backdrop and the framework for this cookbook. Readers will appreciate her deep connection to the food that sustained her family through difficult times and nourished her spirit through loss.

As for the 180 recipes featured in To Cook Is to Love, they are equal parts Cuban and American, equal parts criollo and modern. The recipes are authentic; inspired by the cuisine Mami Aida grew up with, but updated by Chef John Verlinden to make them more compatible with the busy lifestyles and health consciousness of today’s home chef. They are firmly grounded in the traditions of the island – use of whole foods, essential ingredients and reliance on the “from scratch” methods of the past. But, they also reflect the experience Verlinden gained as a restaurateur and chef specializing in Nuevo Cuban cuisine. Chef Johnny shows you how to create delicious traditional Latin dishes infused with gusto, soul, beauty and love in your kitchen, how to introduce healthier ingredients without sacrificing flavor and how to employ the shortcuts Chefs use to save time and money. Designed with today’s busy home chef in mind, the recipes are well crafted and easy to follow ensuring great results every time.


To Cook Is to Love is a basic Latin cookbook and solid reference source for anyone interested in the cuisine. Through sidebars and fact boxes you’ll enjoy fun facts and learn nutritional information about key ingredients, cooking methods, preparation, and presentation. And, because To Cook Is to Love is beautifully illustrated with rich images of pre-Revolutionary Cuba memorabilia, old family photographs, vintage graphics and original illustrations, you’ll have a hard time deciding whether to display it on your coffee table to share with friends or to keep it in the kitchen as your favorite cooking resource.