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latinDlite CoverWe recently had the opportunity to speak with Ingrid Hoffmann, star of the Cooking Channel’s Simply Delicioso and author of the recently published cookbook Latin D’Lite.

Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us today, Ingrid. Reading your biography, we see that you have been a successful actress, luxury retailer, restaurateur, TV personality and writer. And though you’ve continued with some of those projects, it appears that you have been most passionate about cooking. Total Wine and More is interested in your career and learning more about how it relates to the combination of food and drink–your relationship with wine, spirits, beer and cocktails.

Total Wine: Why cooking? Were your parents an inspiration for your culinary path? What is your earliest memory of cooking?

Ingrid Hoffmann: My parents were and are my inspiration. Mom was a Cordon Bleu trained chef that started her business from our home kitchen successfully expanding into her restaurant. Dad was an amazing cook and loved cooking. They did a lot of entertaining.

My earliest cooking memory was during a Christmas. All the girls where in the kitchen cooking together: my two grandmothers, sisters and mom. We each had tasks, and I helped prep and make the three-meat stuffing for the turkey.

Total Wine: Growing up in Colombia, is there a cultural cooking influence from there that shows through in your dishes? How would you describe your culinary approach?

Ingrid Hoffmann: I would say, that from my Colombian side you see several influences, mostly the Afro Caribbean influence of cooking with fruit, mixing savory and sweet, cooking with Coca Cola, rum and citruses. From Bogota, you see the Andean peasant food made more modern. I also have Bolivian and Peruvian heritage and you will see that I live to use ingredients from those regions as well, like Quinoa and Peruvian chiles. I also have Basque roots and therefore there is a lot of Spanish influence in my flavors.

SOBE Swine and Wine 2012

Total Wine: You recently released your second cookbook, Latin D’Lite. Is there a specific theme that you are trying to showcase? Are you making appearances where someone can get a signed copy?

Ingrid Hoffmann: The theme in this new book is to showcase great food, made lighter without sacrificing flavor. It is the anti-diet book! It’s about small lifestyle changes that add up to make a big difference. It is about living with balance with occasional splurges. It is how I cook for myself and eat at home, eliminating processed ingredients as much as I can. My food philosophy is about eating ingredients that came from the ground or had a mother. Yummy food from scratch done quick and creative and full of flavor.

The publishing world has changed a lot and the way people buy books is not necessarily at bookstores, sadly enough I might add. We are mostly touring to promote it on TV and print nationally! As far as signings, we are doing them in combination with other events, like food festivals and book fairs. Make sure to follow me on Twitter @simplyingrid to find out about signings.

Total Wine: The “cocktailicious — drink up your calories, chica!” chapter in your book tackles cocktails. Any favorite cocktail recipes you can tease the Total Wine readers with?

Ingrid Hoffmann: I am not much of a sweets eater and therefore always joke that I’d rather drink my calories and I do mean that. I love a cocktail and I love my occasional Coca Cola as a splurge and as a treat.

Stay Tuned for Part 2 of our interview with Ingrid, which includes one of her signature cocktail recipes!