Perusing the photos on Quinton Soto’s Instagram page is a delight to the senses.
The smell of woodsmoke lingers as you feel the spices tingle your tongue and the juices drip down your chin. Get plenty of napkins because his Instagram comes alive with everything from homemade bacon and sausage to double smash burgers and tri-tip steaks. You won’t be the only one eyeing the photos longingly. You’ll have to stand in line with his other almost 80 thousand followers.
Quinton, 28, grew up in the kitchen. Watching and imitating his mother and grandmother taught him not only the mechanics of cooking but a love for flavors, techniques, and feeding others. When not in the kitchen, the boy Quinton spent hours camping. And as all little boys are, he was drawn to the fire.
Even today, he finds himself cooking more outside than in. “There’s just something about the flames,” he says. Hence his love for all things barbeque.
“The fire’s not the barbeque, though,” he says. “To barbeque means to cook something between 225-250 degrees, but not over and not under. You want to cook it low and slow to tenderize it.”
His favorite tip? How to barbeque properly.
Build the fire
Let it burn down
Cook over the coals, not the flames.
“If you do cook over the flames,” he says, “only keep your meat on for about 30 seconds each side.”
Quinton’s tastes vary, too. He’s let Thai and Asian cuisine influence a lot of what he cooks. But deep down, he still prefers Mexican cooking. A nod to his heritage.
After high school, Quinton furthered his education at Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School before they closed all of their US locations. There he learned the science behind his cooking and a deep respect for food and where it comes from. He loves sharing that knowledge with others and as the primary cook in his home, he has peace of mind that his family eats healthy food.
“Yes, we eat what you see on my Instagram page,” he says.
Since school, Quinton’s worked as a chef in several restaurants near his home in Salem, Oregon. He collaborated with the Alexander Brothers to design the perfect knife roll and uses the Alexander Brothers chef knife.
“It’s one of my better knives,” he says. “The hard blade holds an edge sharper than stainless and it really is beautiful.”
Since all the restaurants were closed for the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, Quinton’s been unemployed. But he looks forward to returning to work when the stay-at-home orders are lifted. And with the Alexander Brothers knife roll, he says, “I can go out with style.”
Written by: Carol J. Alexander