Cooking (and eating!) has been a growing passion of mine for many years but only recently have I taken this interest on as a professional endeavor. I was born in Mendoza Argentina, where I grew up surrounded by vineyards and a blossoming epicenter of innovative food and wine. While I did not realize it at the time, nor was it until many, many years later that this exposure to great food emerged in my own culinary pursuits, I now recognize what a huge impact that these beginnings had on me.
Interestingly, it was through my first career as an architect and the opportunities that this field gave to me to study and work abroad that I discovered my passion for food which eventually translated into skills as a cook. I first left Argentina at the age of 22 for a yearlong study abroad program in Mexico City . This was my first exposure to a cuisine other than that of my home country and I still remember the delight I took in tasting and learning as much as possible about the local cuisine. After graduating from college as an architect I was awarded a scholarship to pursue a masters degree in historic building restoration in Italy where I continued to live for a total of 5 years. It was here in Italy, in the heart of what is unarguably the ultimate of food cultures, that I truly discovered my passion for food and eventually cooking as well. While I would initially travel to various places throughout Italy and Europe to see their architectural marvels, I would return from these adventures with nothing but memories of the food I had eaten there and the people with whom I had shared these meals. With time, I began to exchange amongst friends a great Italian meal for an Argentine asado (BBQ) and eventually a fusion of the two culinary traditions emerged in my own cooking. Today, most of my culinary creations reflect a fusion of these two food cultures.
Despite how much I truly enjoy the food that goes into a good meal, for me, cooking has always been about much more than just the food. As an architect, studying the design of ancient, historical or contemporary homes, I learned how the significance and placement of the hearth or the kitchen has changed very little over time. They have always been, and remain to this day, central features of homes everywhere in the world. They are the heart of people’s homes where family and friends gather to spend time together. It is this aspect of cooking that I enjoy just as much as the food itself. Cooking is an opportunity to share time with the people you care about and sharing a meal with them makes the food that much better.
While I recognize that my background is predominantly in a field other than that of cooking I have been pleasantly surprised by how many of my skills acquired in my first career as an architect have proven to be essential for success in my recent pursuits as a chef. Creativity, time management, attention to detail and the ability to work with a diversity of people are all skills that have served me well as I moved into the food industry. I do not miss practicing architecture because my passion and creativity are now being applied in the creation of new recipes and the composition of food on the plate. Both activities, cooking and architecture, start with a big idea, then require development of the details that make this idea reality and finally, both end with making people happy.
I hope to share a great meal with you soon!