In the Kitchen with Chef Bruce Rivera

By:Gwen Fowler


South Carolina's Chef Bruce and Lucinda Rivera of Rivera's in Greer
Chef Bruce and Lucinda Rivera of Rivera's in Greer

Rivera’s in Greer is owned by Bruce and Lucinda Rivera. He grew up in Miami and thanks to the influence of his father, who was a master pastry chef, he discovered his passion for food at an early age.

“We serve certified Angus beef, seafood and chops that are Latin inspired. We age all our beef for 56 days in imported olive oil, and our seafood arrives from all over the world. We never use snapper or grouper and what would be considered mainstays as far as fish go. We pride ourselves in getting the most prized fish from all over the globe.”

Q: What are you cooking these days that excites you the most?
Right now, we are so excited about the beautiful sturgeon and Hawaiian opah that has crossed our doors and with a passion for only using local produce that brings these dishes to life.

Q: What's the one ingredient you'd always splurge on?
Saffron. What else? I don’t consider great ingredients are ever splurging. That’s where it all begins.

Q: What would your dream meal be?
My last meal would be two fried eggs over a huge plate of white rice with some fried sweet plantains (maduros).

Q: What five things are always in your refrigerator?
All kinds of groovy mustards, sofrito, garlic, onions and some kind of sausages.

Q: What is the last thing you cooked for yourself at home?
I’m sure it was some kind of pork on the grill. What else do Puerto Ricans eat when we get a day off? Pork, silly!

Q: What was your first job in food? What did you learn?
My first job was back in 1972 at the famous Trio diner in Miami. I was a busboy in the daytime, and then in 1975 I started my six-year apprenticeship under my father’s tutelage in pastries. He was a master pastry chef, and he taught me the No. 1 tool in this biz is discipline.

Q: What was your favorite food as a kid? What was the dish or food you hated to eat the most?
My favorite food to this day is hot dogs -- and not the pink wieners either, the great dogs from up North. The worst was my mom’s burnt meatloaf.

Q: What’s the best tip you can give a home cook?
Always keep it simple and learn about your ingredients.

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