Select Recipes from the San Diego Jewish Food Festival

Moroccan Spiced Lentil Soup by Chef Flor Franco


  • 1 pound of cooked lentils
  • 1 pound of tomatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon of grape seed oil
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cummin
  • 1/2 teaspoon if ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup of chopped Italian parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup of water of vegetable broth

Roast tomatoes, onion and garlic then blend all ingredients and cooked in the grape seed oil for five minutes, add paprika, cummin, turmeric, coriander, cayenne pepper and cook at for another 3-5 minutes. Add cooked lentils, add water/broth if needed, salt and pepper and bring to a boil for 8 minutes, add cilantro and parsley and cover for five minutes before serving.
Flor Franco, Chef/Owner Indulge Contemporary Catering

Chef Flor FrancoThe Earth is the perfect palette for culinary artist Flor Franco, chef/owner of Indulge Contemporary Catering. Born in Veracruz, Mexico Franco's culinary roots sprouted at an early age when her father shared the subtle secret of great cuisine: sourcing high-quality ingredients from the prime farmland on which she grew up. At the age of seven, Franco cooked her first full meal and, at 13, she prepared Christmas dinner for the entire family.

Chef Flor Franco graduated with a double major in public relations and marketing. At age 27 she became the PR Director of a major US Custom Broker managing the largest group of Mexican growers. Thereafter she became a catering and event consultant while, simultaneously holding the position as PR director for two separately distinct renowned San Diego event magazines.

Living in Southern California for the last 20 years and working closely with many event companies, Chef Franco had not only the experience and knowledge, but the style and passion for unique tasteful events. She has successfully catered some of the most memorable events like the 2009 Special Event Show for 1200 event professionals from all over the world, the 2008 and 2009 and 2010 Japanese Friendship Garden Moon Festival, the 2010 San Diego History Makers honoring Qualcomm and the Jacobs family.

A member of Slow Food USA, Franco's relationship with growers and food artisans is what inspires the toothsome fare she prepares for weddings, festivals, elaborate events and intimate gatherings. Franco's reputation for keen sensibilities in design and her culinary acumen have attracted clients from around the world, who seek the quality of her food and ingredients.

With the firm belief that good, nutritious food should be accessible to all, Franco established Kitchen Commandos, a program inspired by her experience learned with the acclaimed Alice Waters in her Edible School Yard Academy. Kitchen Commandos provides families with the tools to change their eating habits. She launched the first series at Olivewood Gardens & Learning Center, where she volunteers her time to teach children in underserved communities to cook with fresh produce.

Franco's menus are prepared at the whim of each client, incorporating the intricacies of flavors, textures and feelings of each culture they represent. She is a voracious researcher, going to great lengths to produce the unimaginable. She once spent several days cooking in tandem with an Indian family. There, they shared the intricate details of preparing family recipes long passed down, and she subsequently prepared each dish for the youngest daughter's wedding. She is one of a handful of caterers that specializes in Glatt Kosher, the strictest standard of kosher cooking, which entails several days of preparation and execution. Franco's love and passion for cooking has enabled her to be a guest chef two years running at the Sundance film Festival, "Chef's Dance" 2012, 2013. In 2012 she participated in the "Berry Good Night Dinner", a private dinner in a casual backyard setting with the most vibrant minds behind San Diego's luminous local food system.

Franco is a member of Les Dames d'Escoffier International, a philanthropic society of professional women leaders in food, fine beverage and hospitality. In 2011, she co-founded the Front Burner Fund, a nonprofit that raises funds to supplement the health costs and emergency medical needs for 'back of the house' restaurant staff.

Franco lives on Coronado Island in San Diego with her two sons. Her daughter attends Cornel University, enrolled in the hotel and restaurant administration course. Franco derives her inspiration from the serene elegance of natural surroundings as she walks or rides her bicycle along the beaches and avenues of Coronado. Her kitchen, in the heart of downtown Chula Vista, stands apart as a location known for tantalizing aromas and exquisitely prepared dishes, created in a beautifully artistic setting. Franco's passion is visible in all facets of her life.

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