Alfonso’s favourite moment of each day is the quiet hour that he enjoys by himself at dawn in the kitchen of Corrientes. “That is my moment in the world when it’s just me and my creative juices can flow.” Calling it a quiet hour may be a stretch, however, as Alfonso prefers to work to the loud guitar rifts of 80’s hair metal. But just like there is a day and moment for each music genre depending on your mood, Alfonso reminds us that there is a day and moment for each empanada flavour.
“I always compare the empanada flavour with the music. Some days you want Twisted Sister and a beef empanada, and other days you are in the mood for Frank Sinatra and a vegetarian option.”
Born and raised in Buenos Aires, Alfonso was surrounded by incredible flavours from the get-go. “Every day in Argentina is like going to culinary school as you are always eating some of the best food in the world.” Alfonso’s education continued at home as he would often spend hours every day watching his mother cook.
“I’ve had a love for the kitchen since day one.”
When Alfonso moved to Winnipeg in 2011 after a stint in Israel, he immediately dipped his toes into our restaurant scene. He worked at several well-known restaurants before creating the menu for Corrientes. Named after a famous street that has become the cultural core of life and entertainment in Buenos Aires, Corrientes aims to bring a piece of Argentina to Winnipeg through its menu that is rife with flavour-packed empanadas, authentic Argentinian pizzas, delectable desserts and of course, wine.
When the original owner asked Alfonso if he wanted to purchase the business, Alfonso agreed without hesitation. “I love what I do and wouldn’t trade it for anything.” He strives to maintain a humble approach and always remember why he got into the hospitality industry.
“Making people happy through food is my goal.”
Alfonso is thrilled to be hosting an upcoming Cooking Club session on Sunday, January 31st. He will be walking attendees through the step-by-step process of making an authentic empanada, complete with a lesson on making proper chimichurri sauce. And like a true considerate host, Alfonso will be offering a vegetarian empanada option for those who don’t eat meat.
For attendees looking for the full Argentinian experience, Alfonso recommends pairing the empanadas with a glass of Malbec. “For me, however, I am currently really into Cabernet Sauvignons.” (We have a feeling that the empanadas will taste delightful regardless of what you pair them with, though!)
Tickets for the Corrientes edition of the Exchange District Cooking Club are only available for purchase until this Saturday, January 23rd. Click here to get them while you still can!