PAULA SILVA

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"Life inspires me; certain moments, emotions, basic things with which you can create so much."

Fotografía de INTERVIEWS WITH OUR CHEFS

What made you want to become a chef?

Life itself led me into this art: I grew up in a restaurateur family and I have always liked cooking.
 
What is your earliest memory of a dish that made you dream?
Eating raw oysters on the Chilean sea shore with my mum, accompanying her while she bought the seafood of the day.
 
Who has influenced your cooking style or philosophy?
I started many years ago getting involved in molecular cuisine; living in Spain, that was what I was surrounded by: that cuisine, getting the purest form of each food to find its best flavour, nutrients and colour. It took me back to my roots, my spirituality and to the cuisine I am involved in now: Pure Cuisine.
There are many people travelling this road: Ferran Adriá, Carme Ruscadella, Arzak, Jamie Oliver and, of course, my parents and grandmothers.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Life inspires me; certain moments, emotions, basic things with which you can create so much!
 
What is your preferred method or cooking technique?
Oven (long cooking), sautéing, blanching, emulsifying, sealing ... I like cooking!
 
What is your favourite ingredient?
Only one?  =(  
Mmmmm ... At this point in my cooking: turmeric, garam masala and I can’t miss out beetroot!

What is your favourite kitchen utensil?
A knife and a frying pan.
 
What do you like your pots and pans to be made of?
Teflon, stone, copper for octopus, bronze for sauces ...
 
What would you like to change in cooking schools?
Training to be able to do everything is what we need. In Colombia, I think it’s very important that cooking schools stop teaching only cooking, and turn to hospitality and tourism, where service can become an important part of training. That’s what we need!

What advice would you give for young chefs?
To love their art; and, if they don’t, to change their art!
 
What do you look for when hiring staff for your restaurant?
Commitment, a love of what they do, concentration and good vibes!
 
How do you motivate your team?
By making them understand we are a family and, that if things are done well, everything works well and we grow together. I am fair and pay on time. Now I want to retake some meditation sessions we started with on the Hippie project.

What would you like to change in the catering industry?
In Colombia, there are so many things. I'd rather not go into details.
How do you deal with awkward guests?
With sincerity and respect.

Where is your favourite place to escape and relax?
The sea.

What drives you on to keep being successful?
Life itself; my inner growth.

Which of your dishes are you most proud of?
I have several. After compiling so many successful menus, there is at least 1 in each: Quinoa burger and beetroot in squash bread, vegan tamales, turkey in ‘mani moto’ peanuts, quinoa with fresh and dried mushrooms, small crab tapas with a hint of truffle and marjoram, salted chicken with chips to perfection and my flavoured water.
 
What is your favourite restaurant?
I don’t have one. I love market squares in cities, and I think there are special places for different occasions.

Which current chef do you admire most and why?
I have always liked Carme Ruscadella and Michel Brass for their relationship with nature, with the land, with what is real - and pure!
Of the new ones, I like Jamie Oliver for all the work he does towards food awareness. I’d love to join his campaign!

How do you think restaurants should be classified?
1. Type of establishment
2. Cuisine
3. Service
4. Surroundings and decoration