The story of Anthony Capo is equal parts passion and serendipity. Born and raised in the Bronx, New York, Capo’s first introduction to the culinary world came at an early age. Self-taught and self-proclaimed foodie and cook, Capo has been cooking before he could even remember. Capo recalls watching his mother cook as a child and developing a passion for all things edible.
Being one of ten children in a large family, Capo is no stranger to repurposing items and reconfiguring them to ensure no waste is generated. Our interview showed his sustainable perspective on food, which he inherited from his mother.
Originally only cooking and occasionally baking for his friends and family, Capo decided to showcase his unique style of cooking on social media. That is where he set his sights on his latest creation, his cooking Instagram.
When asked how he began “foodstagramming” as a self-taught foodie, Capo credits his friends. Under the handle @anthonys_love_of_food, Capo has a unique way of teaching others how to cook: “What sets me apart from other foodies and cooks on Instagram is that I am nothing but myself. I don’t teach people how to make what I am making exactly how I do. I teach people how to cook things that speak to their individuality. To follow their intuition.”
Seeing Capo’s friends and family enjoy his creations is one of his biggest motivations to create. When asked whether he prefers making food for himself or for his friends and family, Capo said, “I prefer making food for my friends and family. My friends look at the food I make on Instagram and say, ‘You make so much food! What are you doing with that?’ I always tell them it’s definitely not going to waste; you can believe that. I had one friend that was having trouble at home, and I would meal-prep and make food for him and his elderly father at the time so that they had something to eat. Things like that give me pleasure. Knowing that I am making an impact is something that I strive for when I cook.”
In his quest to learn how to make food staples in different ways, Capo has mixed up and substituted ingredients along the way. Despite not having formal training, he has learned a variety of ways of making vegetarian, vegan, and even gluten-free meals.
Though Capo has produced food creations from all over the globe, his favorite cuisine to make is Puerto Rican cuisine. Being Puerto Rican himself, he has learned to perfect and personalize recipes that his mother once made. Among the meals he enjoys making — and personalizing —is Pastelón. With layers of sliced plantains, ground beef, and cheese, pastelón is a classic Puerto Rican dish.
When it comes to his creative process, Capo explains the inspiration behind his cooking: “I like using cooking as a way of connecting with people. One of my favorite things is inviting friends over and watching them enjoy my food. Food is my way of connecting with others. Watching people appreciate my food and essentially lick their plates is the most rewarding part for me.”
In fact, one of Capo’s favorite ways of learning new ways to cook different meals is by trying out new things. Because of his way of connecting with others through food, he has found that he gets introduced to new ways of cooking food, or even new foods, through his experiences with other people. Whether it’s dining at new restaurants or hanging out with friends, Capo doesn’t shy away from inspiration anywhere. “When I go to different restaurants. I really try to experience the food. I try to order something that I’ve never had or heard of, and I try to duplicate it and put my own spin on it.”
One chef that really influenced Capo to try out different cuisines is Jean-Georges, a well-known French chef best known for his 2-time Michelin star restaurants in New York City. Like Capo, Jean-Georges places emphasis on sustainability and the well-being of his consumers. “I like the way he makes each dish his own. Instead of using the same ingredients that others use for dishes, he puts his own spin on them and creates masterpieces. His food is adored and known by people all over the world all because he makes sure it speaks to his individuality. That is what I strive for.”
Here’s Capo’s advice to any aspiring cooks or anyone getting their start in cooking: “It has to be something you love. Cooking can be hard work. It takes a lot of dedication. It has to be something that you love to do. Otherwise, it’s just going to be another chore, it’s going to seem super tedious, and you’re not going to enjoy the process because you’ll burn out quickly. When it comes to food, you can tell whether the dish was made for love versus when it wasn’t. The food speaks for itself. Yes, anyone can cook, but when you truly start to love the process is when things start looking up.”
Capo is just at the beginning of what is sure to be a very successful future in the food world. Though, he says, nothing is in the works at the moment, he hopes to one day open up a cafe or restaurant where he can share his love for cooking with people from all over the globe. For now, he is sticking to Instagram to gain a wide audience to inspire foodies like him, simply for the love of food.
Follow Anthony Capo’s journey as a rising cook on Instagram here!