Chef Spotlight: Martin Louzao - Puerto Rico
Country of Residence:
1. Your Restaurant/Business:
Cincosentidos Inc. currently have Cocina Abierta, an interactive culinary experience; Nonna Cucina Rustica our Italian restaurant concept; Atelier, a culinary school for aficionados and Touro our recently opened Spanish inspired restaurant.
2. About Your Kitchen:
Eclectic – I like to have a little bit of everything at hand as I like being able to jump to different flavour profiles.
3. Your Favorite Chef Works Item:
My favorite is the Urban Chef Coat Collection, I have a couple of different styles and it’s what I wear whilst working in the kitchen.
4. First Job:
Opening oysters at an oyster bar, I was a student, yet I was able to create a daily menu.
5. Your Favorite Cookbook:
My favorite cookbook is "Historia de la Gastronomía" By Nestor Lujan. My own cookbook is in the making.
6. Your Awards:
Trip Advisor Awards of Excellence 2013 / 2014 / 2015 / 2016, Open Table Awards 2016 - Nonna - Best Value PR & Caribbean / Fit for Foodies and Cocina Abierta – Best Food Caribbean / Best Value Caribbean / Fit for Foodies, Wine Spectator 2016 - Cocina Abierta - Award of Excellence for our wine list, Sal Awards Puerto Rico 2015 – Cocina Abierta Winner – Creative Cuisine, Sal Awards Puerto Rico 2015 – Nonna Cucina Rustica 2nd place – Pasta, Top Ten Novel Chefs of Puerto Rico 2014, Tables Magazine 2011 – New & Noteworthy Restaurant Award – Cocina Abierta
7. Your Cooking Inspiration:
Traveling – being able to take in new landscapes, ingredients and ideas is my favorite way to switch on the creative flow.
8. Your Specialty Dish:
Anything I can work on a wooden fire, it makes such a difference to the flavor profile. Even the wood is a major factor. We always had grills or “Asados” while growing up and I knew it was one of my favorite methods.
9. Favorite Dish To Eat:
My father's grilling, his ‘Asados’ are the best.
10. Weirdest Thing You Ever Ate:
A Goose Barnacle crustacean. A Chef had me try them back in school, simply boiled, I loved them.
11. Favorite Ice Cream Flavor:
Dulce de Leche, it’s a popular flavor back in Buenos Aires and I really enjoy having it.
12. Favorite Drink:
Where my grandparents live they have a grape that is very common called Loureira. It is not the best grape to use for wine, but like the saying goes “A mal vino, buen aguardiente” which translates to “A bad wine, good brandy” and the meaning is like “When handed lemons, make lemonade”. My grandparents make their own Orujo brandy with these grapes and it’s my favorite taste.
13. Favorite Wine:
Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Of all the wines I’ve tasted these past years, its flavor profile is one that has impressed me the most.
14. Who Would You Most Like To Cook For:
Francis Mallmann, the Argentine celebrity chef, author and restaurateur who specializes in Argentine and Patagonian cuisine, with a focus on barbecuing food.
15. Who Would You Least Like To Cook For:
Whomever is scared to try new things, there are so many flavors to try.
16. Favorite Things To Do When Not Cooking:
Reading. I like to be in the know and up to date on as much as I can.
17. Your latest project:
We are very ambitious and our latest restaurant, Touro, has Spanish inspiration. This year alone we will have many projects including Finca that will be dedicated to organic dishes, with a menu based on available crops. We want to refresh Puerto Rico’s attitude to agriculture and local products by working on a festival where producers and restaurants can offer the best produce. We are also designing an App for this area.
18. Favorite City and Why:
Barcelona, because of all the creativity you can see there
19. Your Greatest Indulgence:
Any kind of chocolate, from 80% cacao to silky milk chocolate, I enjoy them all.
20. Your All Time Best Culinary Tip:
Taste everything, try everything.