Arizona on a Plate: Chef Paulina Martinez Cooks Twisted Infusions Farms H-Bomb Hummus
As photographer Debby Wolvos has traveled the state, she has had the privilege of meeting and getting to know the people behind our local food community—be they farmers, ranchers, bakers, artisan food producers or chefs. This photo series explores the relationships, inspirations and ingredients from these producers.
The fourth entry in this two-year photojournalism series features Chef Paulina Martinez of the newly opened El Panzon y Frida in Old Town, Scottsdale. Her dish, H-Bomb Hummus, reflects her New American food with a Latin American twist. It’s made with produce from Twisted Infusions Farms, a unique urban farm in Glendale.
I met up with Chef Martinez and farmer Heather Szymura, as they stepped into Szymura’s 40-foot shipping container farm at Twisted Infusions in the West Valley. The excitement between the two over the stunning produce was contagious.
DEBBY WOLVOS: Chef, I’m not sure if there is extra oxygen in the 63° container farm, or if it’s the red and green LED grow lights, but it was magic in there. You two were like kids at Christmas!
CHEF PAULINA MARTINEZ: It’s true! Heather can grow anything, and it’s exciting to see her unique lettuces and herbs that nobody else has. She likes to experiment, and provide greens like chocolate mint, special kale and onion flowers. Those beautiful peppers she grows are so interesting , and the flavor and color is really incredible.
Because it’s grown hydroponically, her produce isn’t subjected to insects or sun, so it is very pure. Her urban farm produces lettuce types from around the world, which works with my style of cooking.
DW: What is your inspiration for the H-Bomb Hummus dish?
PM: I created a simple dish that does not take away from the flavors of Twisted’s raw produce. I don’t like to manipulate ingredients too much. I start with the hummus, top it with the greens and herbs and then drizzle it with the star of the dish: oil infused with Heather’s fabulous Chichen Itza peppers.
DW: When you take a bite, your palate is hit with spices, peanut and a hint of the Chichen Itza pepper. Then you taste the mint, chervil, basil and other fresh herbs. There are so many different flavors to experience, yet they work so well together.
PM: Absolutely! This also describes our relationship perfectly. We are so different. I am more reserved, but intense. Heather is so funny, so enthusiastic, and also intense. We blend so well, and I appreciate our shared vision. Our partnership is so exciting. We are just getting started!
Our pop-up event for this article will be a three –course dinner featuring Twisted Infusions Farms produce and the H-bomb Hummus dish at El Panzon y Frida in Scottsdale on October 3. For more information and tickets, see elpanzonyfrida.eventbrite.com. For info on future events follow Edible Phoenix on Facebook or sign up for our e-newsletter.