Coast Monthly sits down for a chat with local cooks and food lovers.
Alex Gonzalez, a general contractor known for work on historic properties, lives in the Kempner Park neighborhood in Galveston.
One of seven children of a well-known island family, Gonzalez graduated from the island’s O’Connell High School in 1984 and has worked mostly in construction, with brief stints in corporate travel, research and even restaurant management.
Gonzalez has worked on such historic and high-profile projects as the transformation of a former island orphanage into the home of The Bryan Museum. He loves coaching his children’s soccer and basketball teams, he said. He also enjoys entertaining at his spectacular outdoor kitchen, where he tries out a variety of ethnic recipes. Along with completing his planned construction jobs, Gonzalez has been helping businesses around the county cleanup after Hurricane Harvey.
Who is your cooking inspiration?
My mom, Rose, was from Monterrey, Mexico, and was a great Mexican cook. I also get inspired by the places I visit and am currently into recipes from Colombia.
What’s your first food memory?
My mom’s chicken mole, served with Mexican rice and charro beans.
What’s your biggest food pet peeve?
Seasoning. Most restaurants don’t understand seasoning. Just salt and pepper is all you need.
Do you have a favorite kitchen gadget?
My hand-pull food processor. I use it all the time.
If you were making your last meal, what would it be?
Sautéed olive oil shrimp on angel hair pasta, caprese salad and a tres leches cake.
When you’re feeling decadent, what do you order?
Rudy & Paco’s Lobster Tempura.
Alex Gonzalez’s Shrimp Olives
2 pounds medium shrimp, deveined with tails on
8 ounces Italian sausage
4 to 8 cloves of garlic
1⁄2 cup olive oil
10 garlic stuffed green olives, sliced
10 pitted Kalamata olives, sliced
1 package angel hair pasta, cooked al dente
Salt and pepper to taste
Italian (flat leaf) parsley, chopped for garnish
Marinade shrimp in olive oil, minced garlic, salt and pepper for 15 to 20 minutes.
Cook pasta in lightly salted boiling water until al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes
Sauté Italian sausage until cooked through.
Sauté olive oil and garlic over medium heat until garlic is golden. Add shrimp and sauté 3 minutes, add sausage and olives to pan and cook until warm and shrimp is done, about 3 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Drain and plate pasta, spooning shrimp mixture over the top.
Garnish with chopped Italian parsley.