Restaurant by Michelin-starred chefs could soon open in Cuba

Posted: 27-Aug-15 10:01

Three renowned chefs from Italy, Spain and Mexico (with a total of five Michelin stars among them) have revealed their plans to open a restaurant in Cuba, one that will offer the finest fusion cuisine reflecting the three countries of origins of the chefs. With the simple yet evocative name of "Pasta, pinchos y tacos", reflecting the different types of regional cuisine that each award-winning chef specialises in; the only prerequisite they ask is that the new fine dining venue must be positioned facing the sea, to make the most of one of Cuba's most beautiful natural assets: its pristine coastline.

Restaurant by Michelin-starred chefs could soon open in Cuba

Three prestigious chefs with worldwide recognition and several culinary accolades (raking up a total of five Michelin stars among them) are travelling to Havana in December with the hope of making their new project come true: to open Cuba’s first ever true fine dining restaurant at an international standard, a level of quality still unseen in the island, thus tapping into a non-existent market that will cater for more refined palates as Cuba prepares to welcome more worldwide visitors with discerning tastes, especially from the U.S. since travel regulations to the country have been relaxed for American citizens.

Two Michelin star winner, Andoni Luis Adoriz from Spain’s Basque region, three-Michelin starred Massimo Bottura from Italy’s province of Modena and accomplished Mexican chef, Enrique Olvera have all expressed their interesting in scouting the local gastronomic market in Cuba in order to open a new restaurant and be the first to tap into a new market for the country: haute cuisine with an international accent.

Mr Olvera who owns and oversees what has been declared the third best restaurant in Latin America as per the prestigious San Pellegrino’s ranking, said of the new venture:

"We believe that in these months or in the next few years there will be stronger opening and we want to be able to enter in that opening We are going [to Cuba] to see venues and to gain a better understanding of how the market works. It’s madness, a dream, an ideal. It will be materialised. The three of us are going now in December."

The idea flourished last year but it seems the chefs still haven’t decided on a fixed date to make it come true.

"It’s a project that we want to do organically, naturally, so that it happens when it has to happen."

Olvera who also added that in September hew will be hosting a round table in Mexico City to which he has invited great gastronomic icons of worldwide acclaim, went on to say that they’ve already approached Cuba’s embassy in Mexico and the Cuban part seems to have welcomed the idea.

"We understand that up until now the way that restaurants [with foreign capital investors and owners] work in Cuba is through cooperatives and in these there has to be a Cuban partner. So, we want to further understand that better."

With all three chefs being incredibly successful at their own award-winning restaurants back home, all of which are ranked in the 50 Best Restaurants in The World, one cannot help but speculate about the level of culinary talent they would be to a country whose cuisine is at many levels rudimentary and limited.

Even when the recent reforms on private property have seen an incredible deploy of new restaurants evolving much further than the original and limited "paladar" concept; featuring previously inexistent flavours in Cuba, like Mexican, Russian and even Indian cuisine, the island’s gastronomic entrepreneurs are still years behind achieving the level required to reach the heights of authentic haute cuisine and true fine dining.

This new project could change all that and the influence of such big culinary stars could further influence and inspire young Cuban chefs who have not seen or experienced the likes of such food refinement.

When speaking about the possible new restaurant in Cuba, the chefs have concocted the picture of a casual and fun place with live music, prices that are not too exorbitant and long shared tables that perfectly capture what Mr Olvera calls “the cradle of communism”.

But they do have one pre-requisite that stands tall above them all and that is that the new dining venue be on the beach, overlooking Cuba’s crystalline waters. Mr Olvera even ventured to reveal a possible future name: “Pasta, Pinchos y Tacos” – a name that would unite the trio’s variety of culinary backgrounds with the dishes that better represent each country or region internationally.

On San Pellegrino’s The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, Italian Massimo Bottura figures in second place with his Osteria Francescana in Modena, while Spaniard Andoni Luis Aduriz’s Mugaritz in San Sebastian stands at sixth place and Mexican Enrique Olvera’s Pujol restaurant in Mexico City occupies the 16th position.


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