Boston cuisine is more than baked beans and cream-filled pies. Very Local is highlighting all the best cuisine Boston has to offer in it our series “Blind Kitchen Boston.” The show features chefs from the greater Boston area battling against each other to cook each one’s signature dish. The twist – the chefs are blindfolded while tasting each other’s dish and can only recreate it based on what they taste, smell and touch.
Meet the host of “Blind Kitchen Boston” Bime Cruz.
From the medical field to Master Chef
Host and Taunton native Bime Cruz is an exuberant and enthusiastic chef who’s no stranger to cooking for TV audiences. While working as a health care professional and boxing coach, Cruz took a leap of faith and tried out for The Food Network series “Master Chef.”
“It was a Saturday, and at the time I would take patients on outings and get them out of the house,” he said. “So, I asked my patient if he wanted to go to Boston so I could try out for the show. He was psyched, and we sort of made an adventure of it.”
After making it through the local and LA rounds of tryouts, Cruz earned a spot on season four of the series where he touched judges and viewers alike with his passion, work ethic and willingness to take accountability for any mistakes he made in the kitchen. Though he didn’t win, he did take home with him lots of lessons and wisdom he applied to his career.
“I learned a lot while on ‘Master Chef.’ When we weren’t filming they taught us different cooking techniques, broke down how to make your staple sauces, it was a great experience,” Cruz said of his time on the show.
Upon his elimination, the judges inspired and encouraged him to follow his passion. Gordon Ramsey in particular told him he “belonged in the kitchen”.
Though Cruz’s formal training was bare to none before his appearance on “Master Chef,” he was well versed in the kitchen due to his upbringing.
“I’m one of five kids and my dad was a pastor who also worked another job and my mom worked so us kids learned how to take care of ourselves at a young age. But from the time I could, I made myself breakfast every day. Home fries and fried eggs was the first dish I ever mastered, I think I was 6 or 7,” Cruz said.
At home in the kitchen
Being a first-generation-born child to Puerto-Rican immigrant parents meant Cruz faced some challenges growing up.
“I learned how to speak, read and write in Spanish before I knew how to speak English. I learned most of my English as a kid from watching TV,” he said.
Though his life growing up had its challenges, it seemed as though Cruz was always destined to be a chef.
“I was a bit of a troublemaker as a kid and often found myself having to sit at the table instead of being able to play with siblings and friends,” he said. “I’d be in the kitchen while my mother and grandmother cooked and gossiped. I just watched everything. It was during this ‘time out’ of sorts I learned some staple recipes, and a few family secrets!”
After his time on “Master Chef,” Cruz came back to Boston ready to grind it out in the kitchen. He went straight to the restaurant Stoneforge and got to work at the pizza station. His first day he proved how dedicated he was to being in the kitchen when one of the station workers quit, leaving Cruz to take on the extra load! From there he worked his way up, eventually becoming executive chef at Cibo Matto in Mansfield where he served Patriots players and other high-end clientele.
But becoming an executive chef isn’t exactly what he thought it would be.
“When you become an executive chef you barely cook anymore. It’s a lot of paperwork, dealing with vendors, et cetera,” he said.
After some time at Cibo Matto Cruz decided to become a private chef, relishing the opportunity to entertain and cook delectable five-course dinner parties for people in their own home. He also creates content on TikTok and Instagram for his food enthusiast viewers and is happy to be back cooking the food he loves and sharing his passion with others through social media.
“Food is a universal language,” Cruz said. Spoken like a true foodie.
Catch Cruz and other Boston chefs on “The Blind Kitchen Boston,” you can stream all of the available episode for free on the Very Local channel.