Meet Belqui of Belqui's Twist

Empowering cooks everywhere to always cook from the heart.
SideChef
Created from scratch in the SideChef Kitchen, where recipe inspiration and ingredient experimentation are a way of life.

We are excited to have Belqui to share with us how pivotal moments in her life along with her passion for food fuels her desire to create such delicious recipes.

What’s your favorite word related to cooking and why?

“Crusty” and why? Because I have had people question the word when I use it in my recipe videos. Like, “serve with crusty bread”... I think it makes perfect sense so now I use it even more! ha!

What’s your earliest positive food memory?

My grandmother made an amazing yellow plantain dish that I loved as a child. I remember visiting on the weekends and she always had it almost ready for me when I arrived at her home. She showed love via cooking and I felt that love every time she made that effort for me. When it comes to cooking my mom and I take after her.

What’s your favorite cooking tool and why (hint: panasonicMWO)?

Ever since receiving and using my Panasonic microwaves, I love to air fry! Prior to that I hated air fryers because I found the baskets to be so small, they didn’t hold enough to serve my family of 4 in a single use. The Panasonic 4 in 1’s basket is huge! And air fries more than I even need. So yes, I have leftovers!

What do you crave when you have a cold?

I crave chicken noodle soup and I always make sure I have servings on hand by making big batches of soup and freezing in individual servings. I call that culinary self care! ;)

What do you cook when you’re happy?

I usually cook a traditional Dominican dish because it gives me the feeling of home and my upbringing. Not to mention, I feel it's the best tasting food on the planet!

Your ultimate guilty pleasure food:

Anything fried but if I had to choose the top one it would be fried chicken.

What’s your favorite kitchen sound?

When I add seasoned meats into hot oil and that perfect initial sear is just starting. It’s the perfect sound.

What’s your favorite cooking smell?

The smell of a simmering Dominican Oxtail Stew. I don’t think there is anything that makes me hungrier than that smell.

Who’s your favorite person(s) to cook for?

My kids. I love when their faces light up and how excited they get when I tell them what I am making for dinner. Sometimes I keep it a secret until serving just to see the excitement when it’s one of their favorite meals. Nothing more satisfying than that for a mom.

You get invited to a dinner prepared by any food icon dead or alive, who is it?

This is a tough one because I have a long list of my favorite icons but I think I would have to go with The Barefoot Contessa’s Ina Garten. I love everything about her.

What do they say to you on your arrival?

When arriving at her dinner party I would love for her to say to me: “I’ve got your favorite bottle of Pinot Grigio” as she gives me a warm embrace. That question means she knows me very well. That would be a dream come true for me.

What are your 5 top cooking tips or tricks?


  • Prep ahead. If you are a busy mom like me, prepping is a lifesaver. I tend to do so while the kids are at school. I prepare as much as I can so that all I have to do when I am ready to cook is place on the stove or pop in the oven.

  • Buy prepped. I love to buy things like minced garlic, chopped onions, chopped carrots. It's a huge time saver for me, especially because I cook almost every single day. I am obsessed with semi-dried herbs that last up to 6 weeks that I find in the organic section at my supermarket because they are already chopped and fresh. Can’t ever go wrong with that.

  • Batch cook. Earlier in this interview I mentioned how I make big batches of chicken noodle soup and freeze them in individual servings. Well, I also do that with foods like beans, different types of them and also other soups. Meats like ribs. Seasoned, portioned and vacuum sealed. All I have to do is defrost when I need them.

  • Recipes are just for guidance. When following a recipe, if an ingredient amount, for example, doesn't sound right to you or you prefer less, more, just listen to your gut. Also add ingredients you like that you believe will go well with that recipe. In other words, experiment. This will build up your confidence in the kitchen.

  • Clean as you go. Trust me, you will be so happy you did once you are done eating that wonderful meal you just prepared. If you are anything like me, when I am full I get lazy and seeing a sink full of dirty pots and pans is the worst feeling ever! And frankly, why a lot of people I know don’t like to cook. Cleaning up while you go will free up alot of time later.

If you could sum up your cooking style into one sentence, what would that sentence be?

My cooking style is simple, relaxed and homey.

Love this interview? Try these amazing recipe and cook with Belqui Ortiz-Millili.

Created from scratch in the SideChef Kitchen, where recipe inspiration and ingredient experimentation are a way of life.
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