Friends of the tribe – Samantha Ferraro

A Brooklyn native who is in love with Hawaii, topped with a passionate burst of flavours. That’s what you get when you talk to Samantha Ferraro. The magic behind the blog The Little Ferraro Kitchen. A whiff of her recipes, and you will be hooked.

Stuffed grape leaves

Has your multicultural background helped you arrive at a signature style that’s only yours?

Yes, I believe so! Because I come from such a diverse background, I have had the pleasure of trying and experiencing so many different cuisines. For instance, I grew up in a Jewish home where we ate a lot of Jewish and Mediterranean dishes. And then when I moved to Hawaii, I was introduced to local ingredients and tropical flavors. And now that I live in Southern California, Mexican and California cuisine is centered! So that is one of the reasons I started my blog, because I really wanted to illustrate how we can celebrate cultures through their cuisine!

Like my mom’s Turkish stuffed grape Leaves and Hawaiian Lilikoi Bars (also known as Passion Fruit).

Passion fruit

How do you define your cooking style?

Classic, cultural and wholesome. I love creating and making dishes that are classic that show off gorgeous ingredients. My favorite dish I have ever made was my first Julia Child dish, a Cheese Souffle! Once I made that, I knew I was hooked on classic technique and flavors.

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What is the one spice you can’t do without?

Oh gosh, am I only limited to 1? ha! There are so many gorgeous spices out there! I have the say one of the most used in my kitchen is cumin! It’s smokey and aromatic and so delicious! I love cumin paired with beets too. The smokey cumin is amazing with sweet red beets.

Beet hummus

What do you think will be the biggest food trend this year?

I have to be honest, I am not too big on the food trends, but they are fun to try. I think everything with coconut is pretty popular right now and sriracha is in everyone’s kitchen too! But I’d love to see something a little crazier………Any ideas? :)

What is a must-try dish in Hawaii, for the benefit of those who plan to holiday there this year?

I have to say, go where the locals go! One of my favorite dishes is Kalua Pork. The pig is cooked in an “imu” which is underground and heated by rocks. The pork comes out amazing and smokey! So “ono” AKA good in Hawaiian. Also try the fresh fruits, lilikoi (passion fruit), papaya and lychee!

Do you have a nemesis dish?

Oh my…I’d have to say anything with pie crust! I am not much of a baker but my Auntie taught me to make a lattice pie and since, I’ve tried it again! I was so intimidated by the flaky pie and the butter and flour. The next desert I’d love to try are macarons! I think that would be a fun challenge.

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Based solely on cuisine, if you had the choice to be reborn in another place, which country would you choose?

Gosh, I really love the U.S. because we have so many different cultures here. But…if I ahd to chose another country, I’d say Italy! The food is so fresh, simple and just delicious.

After graduation, what’s the next big step for you and The Little Ferraro Kitchen?

Well, I actually just graduated in May of this year! I have my Bachelors in Public Health. I would love to incorporate my health education degree and cooking, teaching families how to cook wholesome and at home. I am also continuing to cook and photograph for my blog and get others inspired with cultural cooking.