Leaving behind Michelin starred restaurants around the world, Venezuelan chef, Federico Tischler, is putting down roots in Baltimore to open his own style of an arepera. Serving eccentric spins on traditional arepas, a Latin American comfort food staple, White Envelope will open inside R. House this fall.
Dating back 2,000 years, an arepa is a traditional Venezuelan corn bread bread split open and stuffed with a variety of ingredients. The ground maize acts as an envelope for the chef’s favorite ingredients—Tischler chooses to fill his with ingredients like caramel braised beef, blood sausage, plantain puree, or citrus white chocolate mayonnaise. Using the concept of arepas Tischler’s creations will be centered on fun and innovation, combining sweet, savory and spicy flavors as the foundation for every bite.
“You can eat arepas at anytime—breakfast, lunch, dinner, after partying,” Tischler says. “It’s comfort food, fast food, and finger food – but you can turn it into a whole meal because of the nutritious ingredients. My idea is to use the concept and flavor foundation of arepas but adapt mine to what the people in Baltimore are used to, and the ingredients we can source here. They won’t be your basic ham and cheese arepa.”
Tischler’s menu boasts creations with prices around $7 per arepa: Paint in Black, will feature beef cooked in dark caramel sauce with a spicy plantain puree and crunchy tostones topping; The Illustrious Pig’s roasted and juicy pork leg will be topped with lime-mayonnaise, fresh tomato and arugula; full of spices in a possessed and seductive way, the El Rompe Colchon (translation The Mattress Breaker) will be filled with shrimps and squids macerated in tomato-orange sauce.
“I realized after many years of cooking, that when everybody is eating and it’s quiet, you can hear just forks and knives, but if everyone is laughing that means they are enjoying their food, they forget about their worries, and enjoy the moment. For me that is the reason for cooking … to give pleasure to the people, and let them feel a good experience for a while,” Tischler adds.
A chef with almost 20 years of experience, Tischler graduated from the School of Health Cooking "Cocido a Mano" in Caracas, Venezuela and has led several top kitchens in the country, as well as some of the most renowned restaurants in the world. His travels took him to the great cuisines of the South American continent such as D.O.M. in Sao Paulo, Brazil with two Michelin stars; Malabar and the Lordship of Sulco in Lima, Peru, ranked among the best restaurants in Latin America; as well as through the famed Mugaritz, in the Basque country, also with two Michelin stars. Federico worked recently as co-executive chef at the award-winning Alma restaurant in Baltimore.
White Envelope will serve housemade drinks called caratos, brewed from ingredients that are typically discarded, such as pineapple skins, then flavored with cinnamon, and sweetened with sugar.