Como Sur | South American Gastronomy

All posts tagged #Ecuador

Jobs

[Angelo Gonzalez]

[Angelo Gonzalez]

Chile
Salvador Cocina y Café – Rolando Ortega’s award-winning eatery and coffee shop in the city center is looking for baristas.  Applicants should apply via Facebook.

Zapata Resto Bar – Ñuñoa’s new Mexican-inspired restaurant and cantina is looking for all kinds of help, from cooks to servers, cashiers, dishwashers, and more.  Interested applicants should email bar owner Emerson Hernandez at contacto@zapataimports.cl.

Ecuador
Espai Epicur – Latitud Cero founder and emblematic Ecuadorian chef Mauricio Acuña is looking for a strong cook with 5+ years of experience to lead a new catering team, as well as two kitchen assistants.  Apply at coordinacion@espai-epicur.com.

Basque Culinary Center Will Study, Promote Ecuadorian Cuisine (ES)

By Patrick Hieger

[BCC]

[BCC]

Although ties between South America and Europe are already tight, as many of South America’s best chefs have trained in restaurants from Spain to France and beyond, Spain’s Basque Culinary Center is about to make those ties even stronger.  Diario de Gastronomía reports that for the first time ever, the innovative culinary school will create a department dedicated entirely to the exploration and promotion of Ecuadorian cuisine.  Regarded as one of a handful of mega-diverse nations on the planet, there won’t be any shortage of information or ingredients to cover.  ‘Catédra Ecuador: saberes y sabores’ will be focused primarily on the relationship between Ecuador and Spain, though the goal of the findings is to offer international use and promotion to Ecuador. 

Juan Mari Arzak Will Headline Ecuador’s First Raíces Festival (ES)

By Patrick Hieger

[Raíces]

[Raíces]

Though we can still expect a stunning cast of leading chefs from around the world to headline this year’s symposium at Mistura, Peru is no longer the only country that’s drawing big names to new culinary events.  From July 24 to 26, the city of Guayaquil, Ecuador will inaugurate its newest culinary festival, Raíces, and they’ve got one of the biggest names in modern dining to headline the show.  Groundbreaking Spanish chef Juan Mari Arzak will be on hand for all three days of the festival, and will be giving a total of four talks during his time.  He, along with a panel that includes Brazil’s Rodrigo Oliveira, representatives from the Basque Culinary Center, and a handful of Ecuador’s leading chefs, amongst others, will usher in a new era in Ecuador and its culinary possibilities.

Raíces will take place from July 24 to 26 at the Centro de Convenciones de Guayaquil.  One day passes to the festival are $90 US, and discounts will be given to students and professionals.  Over the course of the three days there will chats given by leading chefs, a market, cooking demos, food for sale, and more.  Raíces will set a brand new standard for the future of Ecuador and its cuisine.  Don’t miss out!  For complete information, check the website

[photo:  Patrick Hieger]

Interview: Mauricio Acuña On Ecuador, Its Food, And Its Future

By Patrick Hieger

[photo:  Patrick Hieger]

[photo: Patrick Hieger]

You may not have yet heard of Mauricio Acuña or the growing offer of Ecuadorian cuisine.  If Acuña has anything to say about it, though, you’ll be hearing from him soon.  Trained in Spain and France and now back home working with his family, Acuña is responsible for Ecuador’s national gastronomy festival, Latitud Cero.  Last year, chefs from all over the world, including Rodolfo Guzmá, Virgilio Martínez, and even Joan Roca headed to the festival to talk about their kitchens, and to give Ecuador a reason to keep pushing ahead.  I had the chance to talk with Acuña a little more about his past, his present, and his strong-looking future.  Read up, and get inspired. 

So, to start, tell me a little bit more about your history.  I know that you lived for a while in Spain and that now you’re back living in Ecuador.  How did you end up in Spain, and why did you move back home?
Well, after working in the family business with my mom from the time I was 12, I went to university to study hotel administration because in [Ecuador] there were no cooking schools.  I continued working with my mother in her traditional kitchen.  She taught me everything about classic cooking in my country and, above all, love for your raw products.  Afterwards, I had the chance to head to hotel and hospitality school in Seville, Spain.  Over the course of four years I became a cook, just as Spanish cooking was evolving, and so I stayed.  I started at the Cenador de Salvador en Madrid, which had one Michelin Star, and high-end cuisine where refined French technique was the menu’s common denominator.  Salvador Gallego is technically one of the greats from Spain, and he gave me the opportunity to work with Martín Berasategui, which was a complete change to the evolution of the new Basque cuisine and a marvelous region that changed my perspective on being a cook.  San Sebastián gets in your skin.  It was a hard season but, with a lot of effort, I entered the game.
Martín got in touch with various restaurants in France so I could continue my apprenticeship, and I landed in Paris at L’Regalade together with Ives Candeborde, the creator of the ‘Gastrobistro’ movement, which is a brutal discipline and market.  12 intense hours per day of scratch cooking with modern techniques turn you into a perfect machine.  Damn, the French are tough.  I spent my vacation at L’Asperge, which is on another level.  When I returned to Spain with a girlfriend (now my wife Cristina Ceresuela), I was offered the chance to become part of the head team of the El Bullí hotel together with Marc Cuspinera and other similar talents, and without thinking about it I joined.  It was crazy.  Unheard of plates.  It was great, the best moment inside of a kitchen, and even though we were different from el Bullí we were a group with the same plates.
At the same time I came to Ecuador to visit family and on one of those trips we decided to join my parents’ business and start a small hotel with a restaurant called Tourblanche.  In 2006, along with my friend Francisco Bononato, we came up with the idea to start a business specialized in culinary services, and so Espai-Epicur was born.  We’ve been developing products for private companies in Spain and Ecuador.  Our projects in Madrid include El Escaparate, a tapas bar with that abides by the km 0 philosophy, using denomination of origin products, our teaching, with a simple but refined cuisine.

So now you have the hotel and restaurant with your family. 
Yes, Tourblanche and Casa Alta (our next opening), which are our projects in Ecuador.  They’re two small hotels with a focus on quality.  Both have restaurants.  The restaurant Salnes has been open for seven years.  More than a restaurant it’s a ‘house of food,’ which, even though it’s in a hotel, maintains its own vibe.  We focus on my mother’s cooking and a goof life.

Tell me a little bit more about the food you serve at Salnes.  Is it modern Ecuadorian?
They’re the best recipes from my mother’s repertoire.  We don’t have a menu.  We make four dishes per day, and there are always soups.  In our workshop we cook updated cuisine where, with private groups, we do live cooking events which are previews of the upcoming restaurant.

When we spoke at Tambo you said you were working on a new restaurant.  So that’s happening? 
Right now we’re in the phase of looking for the right location.  We have the concept and the funding.  The name is secret.

Let’s talk about Ecuador.  What’s the food like?  What are some of the classic dishes?
Our food is worth trying.  We’re a country of the spoon–in every part of this small kingdon you’ll find soups of all kinds and for everyone.  They’re our common denominator. 
Fusion with our roots is latent throughout the country.  We have coconut stews in Esmeraldas in the North.  We have stews in the center of the country.  One of the best is Yaguar Locro (with sheep’s blood).  On the coast in the south we have ‘encebollado’, a tuna soup that we eat for breakfast or for a hangover.  We have a lot in common with the region, as you know, but the big differences have to be tasted by coming to Ecuador.

Do you think Ecuador can rise and become a force in South American gastronomy, or in the world?
Without a doubt.  And to do that, you have to work, but I think we’re in the right moment for it.

What are some of the challenges you find in promoting Ecuador and its food?
One of the problems is the identity of the cooks who have been heavily influenced by the outside.  We have to work on self esteem and the knowledge of what’s ours and our products.  We’ve been undermined by a profession full of egocentrics that have done a lot of harm to young cooks and continue to do so.  They haven’t had a real concept and have created projects that fail because of their lack of seriousness.  We have a lot more culinary schools than medical schools but that hasn’t improved the problem.  Graduates don’t have the right skills and at the schools they’re focused on creating managers and not cooks.  Our indigenous products remain in the country because there’s no demand for them; our cities are plagued with fast food and other ‘foreign’ offers and, as I mentioned before, cooks haven’t put value on our national products.  In Ecuador we write more cookbooks than anywhere else in the world, but for nothing.  Those are the immediate challenges.

Latitud Cero.  How many years have you been holding the conference?  How and why did it start?
This is our national project.  This will be our third edition.  We’re young, but we’re focused on making sure that Ecuador has a high-quality academic offering.  We have a lot fewer guests than the other festivals / conferences, so one of our motivations is that they share as much with people here as they can.  Over the course of three days, we have three forums, in which we ask guests to talk about their past, their evolution, and their future.  I’ve never liked congresses where you see a cook or chef making a plate and that’s it.  Joan Roca encouraged us to continue with this more inclusive model.  Our festival is more for sharing, and otherwise we have a market with growers from all regions talking about their challenges and presenting products that a lot of people didn’t even know existed.  We work with a group of growers and La Pacha Mama.

When’s the next edition and what can we expect this year?
We’ll do it this year like we have in the past, from October 1 to 5.  This year we’ve aligned with a fair offering high quality products that are leaving for export, like our chocolates, coffee, avocado oil, jellies, liquors, and so on.  This year our focus will be on the product and the producer–100% Ecuadorian products.  We’re still confirming the guest, but I’ll tell you that with the union of all the Latin American events the focus will be regional.  We’re part of the group SALSA, which brings together the South American culinary world.  We’re planning to reinforce this.

When you go out to eat, what are some of your favorite restaurants?
I always look for holes in the wall serving national dishes.  Our restaurant market is still developing.  I love eating at Patria in Quito, run by Enrique Sampere.  Las Tanuzas Manabi by Rodrigo Pacheco.  Ivan Grain at Marrecife in Guayaquil.  But always our national flavors.

And, just curious–do you miss Spain? 
Yes, a lot.  20 years is a long time, but we go back as often as we can to see friends and family, and because their food is amazing.

 

 

 

 

 

[photo: Tanta Ecuador]

Tanta Ecuador Opens Today

[photo: Tanta Ecuador]

[photo: Tanta Ecuador]

Tanta has already won the hearts of Peruvians, Chileans, Bolivians, Spaniards, and Colombians.  Chicago, in the United States, received their outpost of Gastón Acurio’s most approachable concept back in August and the restaurant has been causing near madness ever since.  Today, Guayaquil, Ecuador gets their taste.  As of today, Tanta Guayaquil is open for business, ready to spread the good word that Gastón Acurio and Peruvian cuisine are doing the world over.  Five Peruvian cooks are on hand to train the Ecuadorian staff in pastry, breads, bar, savory and service.  Gastón Acurio headed to Guayaquil a couple of days ago to help inaugurate the restaurant and meet with the staff.  According to the chef, “for little money [at Tanta], you can have a little journey within Peruvian culture, without having to get on a plane.”  Where will the brand head next? [via Zona Gastronómica]

 

 

[photo: Huffington Post]

Huff Post Says Ecuador Is Next

[photo: Huffington Post]

[photo: Huffington Post]

It seems that Huffington Post writer Rupert Parker was bowled over by Ecuadorian flavors at a recent dinner in London.  So bowled over, in fact, that he said, “I really do think that the culinary traditions of Ecuador are ripe for an international audience.”  Look out Peru?  Maybe not just yet.

Ecuadorian may not be the next “big thing” (yet),  but there’s no doubt that people want more and more South American flavors.  Acid.  Heat.  Fat.  And so on.  It’s basically a no-brainer, but South America, on the whole, has it figured out.  There’s good eating down here, and it’s still exotic to most of the world, even to many parts of the countries that are promoting their own cuisine.  Peru is still the clear forerunner in bringing its flavors to the masses, but as more diners / writers  like Rupert Parker put the word out, countries like Ecuador can certainly start getting in line.  [via Huffington Post]

[image: Latitud Cero]

Rodolfo Guzmán To Appear At Ecuador’s Latitud Cero

It’s already been a busy year for Rodolfo Guzmán, and there’s still five months left of excitement to go.  The famed Chilean chef of Santiago’s Boragó is traveling the world round to spread the word about Chile and the endemic bounty it has to offer.  Guzmán was in Milan earlier in the year to promote this year’s  Epicurea dinners.  He’ll be at Mistura next month and in Napa Valley in December.  That’s quite a full schedule, and now there’s Ecuador.

From October 1 to 3, Guayaquil, Ecuador will host the second annual Latitud Cero, the country’s biggest and most important food festival.  Rodolfo Guzmán will be there, alongside chefs Juan Roca of the world’s number one restaurant El Celler de Can Roca, as well as Angel León of Spain’s Aponiente, amongst others.  Much like Santiago’s Ñam, which celebrated its 3rd year this past April, Bolivia’s Tambo or even Mistura, Latitud Cero will help showcase and promote the wealth of biodiversity that Ecuador has to offer.

Latitud Cero will feature talks, workshops, forums and, naturally a lot of food.  The panel of international chefs will work closely with organizers to bring guests a taste of Latin America and the world at large.  This is yet another example of the culinary explosion that seems to be happening across South America, and the world is taking note.  More as we get it.  [via Latitud Cero]