Cooking is the way I communicate with the world.
Chef Annette "Nettie" Colón
A Minneapolis transplant by way of NY and Puerto Rico, Chef Nettie Colón spent her early years living a reverse West Side Story.
Born in New York City and raised in Puerto Rico, Nettie Colón spent her formative years learning traditional cooking methods of the island with her grandmother Maria Llanes de Jesus and her friends. For all 48 grandchildren on her mother’s side, time spent on on her grandmother’s farm in the remote central mountain town of Utuado offered an idyllic childhood. She got the love of cooking from her Abuela and to this day that influence is very much alive in every dish that she prepares.
Her love of traveling comes from the time spent hopping around the island to eat with her family. That is how she came to realize that people do travel for food, especially in Puerto Rico. Chef Nettie's father is from Cayey, where the sector of Guavate aka "The Pork Highway" is located.
Ever roaming, Chef Colón of Red Hen Gastrolab has been dubbed the persistent Pop Up and always up for the challenge of where to cook the next meal. Whether on a farm in Wisconsin, in a gallery after-hours or from the back of her car, she packs in flavors inspired by the many places she's sharpened her chef knives from Key West to Provincetown, MA, from Europe to the Yucatan Peninsula. And if you tell her it can't be done, she'll prove you wrong. Equal parts culinary drifter and octopus whisperer, she is as much at home cooking in the middle of the jungle as she is in her Minneapolis Chinchorro. None of us know where she'll pop up next.