My first gastronomic memories run back to my very young childhood growing up in the country side of Entre Rios north of Buenos Aires. Our family lived right next to a big dairy fabric where my father was in charge of the production. Visiting my father at work gave me direct access to taste all different kinds of milk. And maybe it wasn’t a coincidence that with 10 years some of the first food preparations I learned to make were made with milk; a very classic Argentinean dessert called “Flan de leche” and homemade “dulce de leche” made from raw milk. With 13 years my family moved from the countryside to the big capital Buenos Aires.
In 2001, in the age of 17, I entered the “Escuela Superior de Hostelería” of Buenos Aires. During the next 2 years I was lucky to do a lot of practice in different restaurants discovering and exploring different cuisines and traditions. Among these was the kitchen of Pierino; a really antic Italian cantina in Buenos Aires. The restaurant is run by the Capalbo family to whom I quickly became a member as well. It was here I learned and understood that cooking involves a lot of feelings. From Pierino I jumped into a Polish restaurant, El Kozako, where I got surprised of new ingredients and a completely different way of eating and drinking. Beetroot soup called Borsh? I never heard that before and I loved it. One summer during my studies at the ESH I got the chance to travel to Florida Keys in the U.S. to work in a very big upscale resort; a work which apart from earning some good pocket money also gave me the opportunity to practice and improve my English. It was a hard job since I was the only Latin and the youngest among a kitchen with 20 chefs, but from those experiences you get the best.
I finished my studies at ESH with a big desire to keep exploring the world around me and I saw a great potential realizing this through cooking. So I started to travel. The next 4 years I travelled Argentina, Peru, Chile, Ecuador and Bolivia. I also went back to the U.S. for another season in the resort in Florida Keys and I visited the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico. I never stayed too long in the same kitchen during the first years of my career. Every time I felt satisfied and happy about the work I had done I felt an urge to move on and search for new paths; to get surprised once more. I was fascinated by observing the different ways we feed ourselves in different countries; in similar ways - but in each place and country with its own characteristics connected directly to the surroundings and culture. To be a chef you need to learn to eat, find, smell, taste and understand that nothing is made better than in its own origin. The tradition and authenticity make food so special.
In 2006 I was back in the big city of Buenos Aires where I got the opportunity to work with Martin Baquero; a man I consider one of my grand masters of learning. A chef with a hard temper but also a very big heart. He hired me as his main chef and without being exactly sure of what that included, I suddenly found myself running all the sections of the kitchen, including pastry in moments we were without a pastry chef. It was a great experience and a big challenge. After one year of hard work I got a great reward. Baquero offered me to make a stage in the most respected university of gastronomic creativity; elBulli in Spain, so I grab all my savings and took the chance.
There are no doubts that working at elBulli changed my life in many ways. Here everyone learned from another. It was a gathering of so many chefs from all over the world working together with the same goal; to make the best food imaginable. I made some strong friendships and got to know some of the most important up-coming chefs around the world. After elBulli I stayed a couple of years working in Barcelona. It was easy to fall in love and find inspiration walking around the Boqueria Market and the streets of the Raval neighborhood. I created the menu of an author cooking restaurant and worked in a modern tapas bar where I combined touches of my Latin-American cooking with special selected Mediterranean products.
Staying in touch with a good friend and colleague from my time at elBulli gave me an opportunity to visit the northern country of Denmark. The original idea was to work on the opening of the restaurant Relæ by Christian Puglisi but a construction delay changed the plans and gave me some other great opportunities. For the next year I worked at Nimb Brasserie running the cold station and pastry. I also passed by Restaurant AOC exploring the beautiful cuisine of Ronnie Emborg and I made two short stages at Noma by Rene Redzepi and at Geranium by Rasmus Kofoed. It was a journey that really opened my eyes to a new world of cooking with an extremely high level of professionalism and connection with the environment.
I got back to Barcelona in a perfect timing; being headhunted at the Boqueria market with an offer to work in the new projects of Albert Adriá who was just about to open 41° and Tickets. Very inspired by my Nordic journey I started proposing new ideas to develop the snack menu at 41°and shortly after I was running the hot section and soon the whole kitchen. Albert is a man of many ideas and a constant desire to create and develop. We understood each other well and I was able to convert his ideas; to make them real dishes on a plate. And that’s how I ended spending the next two years as his creative director. It was the perfect place for me to bring back all the memories from my many journeys and express them into food. I helped creating new tapas for Tickets, we turned 41° from a snack bar to the 41° Experience with an extended tasting menu of 41 dishes served for only 16 guests per night and finally we brought the Nikkei cuisine to Barcelona by creating Pakta. Being the leader in a place like this makes you realize the importance of taking care and understanding your team to get the best out of each person. Working with this big amount of people also helped me to fix my bad temper after experiencing that shouting inside a kitchen will never take you further.
After 3 years of very intense but also very learning work in the Adriá Projects I felt a desire to do something new. As a creative person I feel a constant need to keep exploring; to search for new and unexplored paths, to get surprised once more. Together with Sussie my closest colleague and partner in life we decided to leave the routines of working in a restaurant. We created a concept that allowed us to combine the things we love and appreciate most; to cook, share and explore the world around us. Cooking is in motion..