Chef Nelson Roque has traveled the coast and the mountains of Peru to learn the different gastronomic techniques of the regions that make up his country. Despite his youth, this renowned chef has shown his talent in the best-known Peruvian restaurants, such as Astrid & Gaston, Toshi (a restaurant that was opened by the remembered Toshiro Konishi) or Central. Also, he has developed new gastronomic projects for the most major restaurant chain in Cusco, Cusco Restaurants, and for La Fragata in Bogotá (Colombia).
Nelson Roque currently resides in Barcelona. After being head of the departure in Dos Palillos, the restaurant with a Michelin star run by Albert Raurich, the chef is in front of the Montbar stove, which already has the recommendation of the prestigious guide of the macarons.
Was there a culinary tradition in your house? Was it cooked?
Every family memory I have is always related to an abundant table, since my parents cooked, guitar and box music (Creole music) and many jokes. I think it is not only in my family but in many Peruvian families. If it was cooked? He cooked a lot; my parents weren’t going out to eat at restaurants; everything was better at home.
Your ra í Peruvian ces and your taste for the kitchen have led you to discover the best cuisines in Latinoam é rich …
When you enter the professional world of cooking, many doors open where you learn more about your roots. Traveling allows you to realize that there are many similarities and a common thread of flavors that link all of Latin America.
You have been part of the cuisines of Central and proposals Virgilio Martínez, jury last edició n of S.Pellegrino Young Chef have lived this experience?
The experience in a kitchen like Central’s was a revolution in my head. Being there made me feel happily uncomfortable. Before Central, I considered that I worked in right places and there was also some comfort knowing that I was on the right track, but in Central, there was a revolution, Peruvian cuisine transcended, responsibility and demand was and is brutal, I did not feel comfortable again. Virgil regularly changed the dishes, arrived with products that we had never seen of his travels in Peru, it was a time of learning and development that I value a lot, but I knew that I needed more perspective and after 10 years of working in my country I decided to leave for the world to know more.
You cross the puddle and disembark in Barcelona to get in front of the Dos Palillos stove and now in Mont Bar …
Great experience that of Dos Palillos, great restaurant, you work hard, but hard! It opened my mind to many things. The culinary life here is different, the level is very high and very competitive, and that makes me happy. Albert is very demanding, and Takeshi was undoubtedly one of the best bosses I had. Now I am starting in Montbar, and I love the place. Many exciting things are done at a high level, and the requirement is as if you were in a star. With the little time it takes, it is already recommended, so I am grateful because they trust my work a lot and there is a lot of level among all my colleagues. I think we will give surprises.
Cua l be to your proposal for the contest?
I will propose to work two products that always relate to simplicity, creativity, and a lot of technique, giving it significant value for everything that it is and everything that it already represents in the world.
Titles ‘Noble fishing and algae’, is it a claim of the sea?
Noble, because it is responsible, conscious, and temporary fishing, giving significant value to any fish. Currently, a certain number of marine species are attacked by consumer tastes when many more options can be repopulated much faster than deep-sea fish. Algae is such an exciting and versatile world that has always accompanied us and will be an essential part of our diet in the future. Working them is very curious.
Do you message you want to convey to your dish a demanding international jury?
That as a young chef and as a new generation of chefs, our responsibility is to find new ways and new alternatives for consumption. We face a reality in which the sea is increasingly exploited; there are endangered species, pollution, etc. Times change, and we also have to.
My dish is based on that, on the memory of fishing. That something is expensive does not necessarily mean that it is conscious and kind. You have to take full advantage of the product for its value and for what it is. Also because perhaps the sea will not be the same in 50 years, and the algae will play an essential role in our food in the future. On my plate, I work only two products to be able to convey my idea, and I hope it is understood.