Just a year after Austin chef Maribel Rivero was named a James Beard semi-finalist, she was shutting down her restaurant, Yuyo, because of the coronavirus.
A few months later, she announced that the restaurant would close for good, and Rivero is now pivoting to a new business: Teaching online classes, some of which include the ingredients necessary to make some of Yuyo’s specialties.
Every Saturday in July, Rivero is hosting a Peruvian ceviche-making class through Zoom, and attendees can sign up to have the ingredients delivered earlier in the day.
A few weeks ago, I jumped on one of the virtual classes to learn how to make ceviche with leche de tigre, a slightly spicy and sweet sauce used to "cook" the fish that is made with onions, celery, ginger, garlic, lime juice and fish scraps that are blended together.
In this case, we used a farmed, sushi-grade sea bass from Colorado that Rivero had skinned and portioned out earlier in the day. The kit she delivered also included the ingredients for the leche de tigre, yuyo, the seaweed for which the restaurant was named, and cancha, the crunchy corn nuts that go on top.
I had never made this style of ceviche before, and it was nice to be able to ask Rivero any questions that came up when I was cutting up and roasting the sweet potatoes and making the leche de tigre. She also told stories about working and studying in Peru before opening Yuyo in 2017, which helped make sense of the historical and cultural importance of the dish.
In addition to the ceviche classes, Rivero has been hosting all kinds of classes this summer, some through her Instagram feed, including one on how to process a whole fish, and through Zoom, including basic knife skills and roasted chicken. On Facebook and YouTube, she’s hosting weekly free classes at 8 p.m. on Fridays in July.
The tutorials on social media are free (@cocinamaribel on Instagram and search "Cocina Maribel" on Facebook), and the virtual Zoom classes have a fee, starting at $25. You can sign up for this ceviche class for $40 without the ingredients, and it costs $60 with the supplies.
You can find the upcoming schedule of classes and sign up at cocinamaribel.com.