Meet the Chef

Born in Medellin, Columbia and having migrated to Paterson, New Jersey at age nine, Cesar Zapata was dubbed the “family cook” while his parents worked. Over the years, he perfected his family’s recipes and challenged himself to his own interpretations of the cultural classics he grew up with. Fast forward years later, he graduated from culinary school at the Art Institute Houston and trained under the tutelage of culinary greats including James Beard-nominated chef, Timothy Keating. He is now co-owner of Phuc Yea together with Aniece Meinhold and has received a number of national accolades. A member of the Advisory Council for No Kid Hungry Miami, he has a passion for serving the community.

Chef Cesar Zapata
Chef Cesar Zapata

Watch the Class:

Full Recipe:

Chicken and Broccoli


  • 1 lb chicken breast, (boneless skinless), cut into 3/4″ pieces
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 lb broccoli, cut into florets (about 5 cups)
  • 1 small yellow onion, julienne
  • 1/2 lb white button mushrooms, thickly sliced

Stir Fry Sauce

  • 2/3 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 3 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce, (use Tamari for gluten free)
  • 2 Tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp corn starch
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 tsp garlic (2 small cloves), grated
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper


  1. In a small bowl, combine all of the sauce ingredients and whisk to dissolve sugar and corn starch (warm broth will help dissolve the sugar faster). Set sauce aside.
  2. Cut chicken into small bite-sized pieces (no more than 3/4” thick) and season lightly with pepper. Heat a large heavy skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add 1 Tbsp oil. Add chicken in a single layer and let it sit undisturbed for 1 minute to get a good sear then stir fry for another 5 minutes or until golden brown just cooked through then remove to a bowl and loosely cover to keep warm.
  3. In the same skillet, add another 1 Tbsp oil along with broccoli florets, sliced onion and sliced mushrooms. Stir fry 3 minutes or until mushrooms are softened and broccoli is crisp-tender then reduce heat to medium/low.
  4. Give the sauce a quick stir in case there was any settling of starch and pour all of it over the vegetables. Simmer 3-4 minutes or until sauce is thickened and garlic and ginger are mellowed in flavor. To thin the sauce, add water a tablespoon at a time.
  5. Return chicken to the pan and stir another 30 seconds or until heated through. Add more soy sauce to taste if needed and serve over hot rice.

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