Rodrigo Featured in Santa Barbara News Press!

Rodrigo Featured in Santa Barbara News Press!


by  Dave Mason (February 6, 2014)


Article Excerpt….

They kiss, they dance, they laugh — in the kitchen.

That’s what happens when the recipe calls for love.

Couples eat delicious and nutritious meals, save money on eating out, and get to spend quality time with each other, free of distractions, when they cook together.

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, the News-Press found several such locals who savor being home on the range.

“We’re definitely a stronger couple because we do this together”

Rodrigo Gimenez was drawn to his wife, Alayna Fraser, the second he saw her at the New Haven, Conn., office where they both worked as architects. Immediately he had designs on her.

Determined to win her heart, the Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects employee, 38, went straight to his co-worker’s stomach. He invited her to his apartment, two blocks from work, for delicious pasta and grilled fish dinners.

“At first, I thought he was just a nice person who likes to cook. He’s inviting me over for food and some friendship,” Ms. Fraser, 35, said with a chuckle at their Santa Barbara home. “Later, I learned, no, he had some ulterior motives.”

Mr. Gimenez won her over with his culinary skills, and they lived together in New Haven and Zurich, Switzerland, until moving to his hometown, Mendoza, Argentina, where they married in 2011. The following year, they moved to Santa Barbara, Ms. Fraser’s hometown, where she graduated from Dos Pueblos High School in 1996.

During all that time, they’ve cooked dinners together. On a recent News-Press visit to their house, Mr. Gimenez seasoned and grilled pork loin and prepared peaches, while Ms. Fraser measured the ingredients and prepared the raspberry sauce, like a true sous chef.

They work closely in the small but organized kitchen, where Mr. Gimenez has a place for every pot, pan or utensil. “She puts them in different places,” Mr. Gimenez said. “I tell her, ‘Don’t touch my stuff.’ ” He grinned.

Clearly Mr. Gimenez, who gave up architecture to become a professional chef with his own catering company, Rodrigo Gimenez Cocinero, is the chef in this house. Although not formally trained, he learned about cuisine growing up and was inspired to pursue his passion after winning a barbecue competition.

Ms. Fraser, who works today as an architect for Blackbird Architects in Santa Barbara, said she has learned a lot from her husband about cooking, including one of its most important ingredients: patience. You can’t rush a dish.

Cooking allows them to spend time together, free from other distractions, except one that they cherish: “Usually we have our 16-month-old baby (daughter Pilar) running between our legs, trying to get in the way,” Ms. Fraser said with a smile.

During their time in the kitchen (they like to make ravioli), Mr. Gimenez and Ms. Fraser discuss their day. “We’re definitely a stronger couple because we do this together,” Ms. Fraser said.

Besides, they get to sneak in some kisses and horse around.

“Just last night, we were cleaning up and doing the dishes. He sprayed me in the face with water,” Ms. Fraser said. “He claimed it was by accident. But the shot was a little too perfect.”