Saturday, 14 December 2013

Chef Ignacio Elizondo, Vi Cool, Harbour City, Kowloon, Hong Kong

Vi Cool, harbour city, spanish food in hong kong
Chef Ignacio Elizondo

The Yum List interviews Chef Ignacio Elizondo on his time in Hong Kong and his thoughts about the food and beverage industry.


What do you do and how did you get into the industry? 
I'm the corporate chef of Dining Concepts, taking care of three restaurants: Tango, Mayta and Vi Cool. I got into the industry after attending one year of university for medicine. I started culinary school back home in Argentina, and right after that start working in restaurants.

What's the best/ worst part of your job? 
The best part is probably getting recognition from customers and I can do what I love the most - cooking. The worst would be the lack of rest!!!

What's the best thing about working in Vi Cool? 
Cooking and working together with Sergi Arola was a great experience!

What's your personal favourite meal/ drink at Vi Cool? 
I like the slow cooked egg with Iberico ham, together with some tomato bread. To drink it would be a really chilled Spanish beer (Estrella) or a good glass of Rioja wine.

What's your favoured food and wine pairing? 
Tapas and Rioja wine!

Tell us a story about one of the dishes you prepare...
Well, the brava potato is an interesting dish because it’s a mix of the brava potato from Madrid, and the one from Barcelona but is presented in a very unique way.

What's one of the most valuable things you've seen behind the scenes?
I think the most valuable thing I see behind the scenes is something that many people don’t know. Everyday I see how passionate and hard working chefs have to be to continue in this business. It's something I want to highlight.

The perfect day off would be... 
... going out for some kind of trekking or sightseeing in Hong Kong, taking many pictures (my hobby) and ending up in a nice outdoor terrace with a lovely dinner and a good bottle of wine with my partner and friends.

A life in the day of a chef is... 
Waking up, maybe having breakfast... getting to work. Work, work, work. Going home and sometimes stopping for a drink on the way or having a late dinner.

What do you do for fun?
I like playing squash, soccer and taking pictures. I am learning about photography. It's something I have been enjoying a lot in the past few years…

What's something you'd like guests to know about the cuisine/ drinks prepared at Vi Cool? 
I think that they should know that we do a kind of re-inventive Spanish cuisine, yet sometimes traditional. It is a concept that mingles both, modern and classic Spanish tapas in a relaxed ambience.

How do you select your ingredients and why? 
It actually depends on what kind of restaurant of I'm choosing for. Some products I like to bring from whichever country the restaurant represents that can not be replaced, but it is also nice to play a little bit with local products. I guess the perfect mix it would be half local and half foreign products.

What's your view on the restaurant scene in Hong Kong?
My point of view is that it is a very competitive business. Sometimes places are overrated and some of them they don’t get the attention they really deserve. Chefs sometimes go too far with innovation, but my feeling is that Hong Kong is not yet ready for something too much beyond traditional food. Classic and simple food is what I see succeeds the most.

Check out our visit to Vi Cool here.

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