1. What’s your name?
“Diego Luis Feliciano Lopez”

2. Where are you from, Diego?
“San Juan, Puerto Rico – born and raised.”

3. So you ate a lot of vegan food in Puerto Rico?
“No, we love our roasted pork and churrasco.”

4. How did you start cooking?
“I remember growing up in Puerto Rico, getting in the kitchen with my grandmother. She was a big influence for me. She didn’t have any culinary training. She just cooked from the heart. Are you getting all this?
Where did I leave off? I just always enjoyed getting into the kitchen with her. Rice and beans, mashed potatoes, spaghetti. After high school, I decided to pursue my passion for food, so that’s when I moved to Miami, to study Culinary Arts.

5. Where did you study Culinary Arts?
“Johnson & Wales University –  North Miami. JWU!”

6. If you could be one animal, what would it be?
“JA JA! A dolphin.”

7. A dolphin, why?
“Cause, (clears throat) ever since I was little, I just saw dolphins jumping and playing around. They just seem like a very cool animal to me. Whenever I think of freedom, I think of dolphins swimming in the ocean.

8. How many events have you done with Love and Vegetables?
“This is my second event. I’ve done one prior.”

9. How was your first L&V experience?
“It was good. I never got to cook vegan before. It was a good experience to expand and explore. I really enjoyed taking a dish that is not traditionally vegan, and making it yummy, vegan, and delicious.

10. What did you like best about the last event?
“The feedback from people that liked my traditional Puerto Rican dish.”

11. That’s all you want to say…?
“What I liked best about the last event was adapting my style of cooking and discovering new cuisines.  I’m not vegan. I’ve never cooked vegan before that event. It was great to get feedback from people who loved my traditional Puerto Rican dish, that wasn’t so traditional.”

12. So you’re not vegan?

13. What’s your dosha?

14. What have you learned about kaphas?
“Kaphas should eat astringent/ bitter foods that are low in sweetness. Also, foods that are warm, light, and dry in nature. You should cook without salt.”

15. How do you feel about the no salt?
“Ja Ja asshole (under breath). Salt is a flavor enhancer. Salt can take something that is very bland, and make it extraordinary. We, as chefs, have to adapt to certain situations. If the customer doesn’t want salt, then I cook it without salt.”

16. What ingredients are you looking forward to working with?
Quinoa, corn, and black beans are the ingredients I get really excited about.

17. Is there a recipe or idea that you want to share using those ingredients? It’s okay if it’s not final.
“I saw corn, lemons, limes. I want to do a vegan version of ceviche. Ceviche is normally fresh fish marinated in an acid. I want to take the fish out of it, and use vegetables in it’s place.”
I would like to eat that.

18. What else should we know about you?
“Uhmmmm….that’s a tough question. But I guess if you have to know something about me, my favorite food is mofongo.

19. Alright. I ask this to everyone. Rainbows or Unicorns?
“What the hell kind of question is that? What does that even mean? I’m guessing. Unicorns.”
Good answer. Very good answer.
I don’t know. I love unicorns and rainbows. But, I think i love unicorns more.

Interviewed by Keith Kalmanowicz