Chefs

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Dieter Koschina

(Owner /chef Vilajoya Restaurant, Portugal 3 Michelin Star N.22 Best of the world)

The pioneer and lodestar for Portugal’s gourmet cuisine is Dieter Koschina from Dornbirn. Born in 1962, the chef has been working for the restaurant of the luxury hotel Vila Joya in the Algarve since 1990. He was awarded his first Michelin star there in 1995. His guiding culinary philosophy is: “First the flavour, then the presentation.” This does not mean his dishes are not artfully presented. It is just that the freshest ingredients, such as turbot bought on the market at the break of dawn, are even more important.
Prior to this, he spent time working under Heinz Winkler at Tantris in Munich as well as under Gerhard Schwaiger at Tristán in Puerto Portals on Majorca. Koschina also worked together with Eckardt Witzigmann, before the call came from Vila Joya, a luxury hotel directly on the Algarve. He has now cooked at Vila Joya for over 20 years, supported by some 20 co-workers, many of whom are Austrians looking to gather international experience – and he has thus simultaneously nurtured the next generation of elite Austrian chefs.
Since 2013, Vila Joya has been ranked 37th in the list of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants. The restaurant, which has been awarded two Michelin stars, combines local products with Northern European methods.
Award winning Chef Dieter Koschina

  • Savor Slow Food At The Best Portuguese Restaurant 
  • Two Michelin Star Chef for 15 years
  • Ranked 22nd on the “San Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants” list.
  • Boa Mesa winner 2014

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Vitor Matos

Chef Vitor Matos has been at the helm of the Largo do Paço Restaurant’s kitchen since May 2010, following an early career split between Portugal and Switzerland, and it has been his work in this kitchen that has earned him his first Michelin star

Chef Matos’ career in the high culinary arts began with attendance of the Cooking and Pastry course (1992-1995) in Neuchâtel, where he was privileged to study under renowned chef Francis Grandjean.

In 1995, after completing his degree, Vitor Matos accepted an invitation to work at the Restaurant des Jeunes Rives, though later that year he would move to Portugal. He debuted as head chef at the Estalagem Quinta do Paço in 1998, in Vila Real, followed by spells at the Grande Hotel da Curia, the Grande Hotel das Caldas da Felgueira, the Vidago Palace Golf & Spa Hotel, the Quinta do Pendão, and the Tiara Park Atlantic Hotel.

Throughout his nearly 20-year career, Vitor Matos has served as jury in various gastronomic competitions and has been a guest speaker at numerous conferences and seminars. His cooking has earned him several awards, chief among them the distinctions for Chef of the Year 2003 (Edições do Gosto), Chef of the Year 2013 (WINE Magazine Awards) and Best Portuguese Chef 2014 (Arco Atlântico Gastro Awards), as well as the “Prix Chefs de l’Avenir” (2011, International Academy of Gastronomy, Paris).

Casa da Calçada, with Chef Matos at the head of the Largo do Paço kitchen, has also recently won several major accolades including a second Sun by the Guia Repsol Guide, the “Garfo D’’Ouro” Award presented by Portuguese weekly Expresso’s Boa Cama Boa Mesa Guide, TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence 2014, and title of the Best Restaurant in Europe by the prestigious European 50 Best Restaurants online guide (theeuropean50best.com).

Vitor Matos creations stand out for their use of seasonal and local produce, their freshness and genuineness combining to enhance the pleasure to the palate. The Chef’s cuisine is of Mediterranean influence and presents itself as a blend between tradition and new gastronomic trends.

Website: www.vitormatos.com and www.largodopaco.pt


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Richard Sandoval, Chef/Restaurateur

Growing up in Mexico City, Richard Sandoval would join his grandmother in the kitchen and gather around her large table with family to enjoy lively Mexican feasts prepared from scratch. From his grandmother, he learned to respect fresh, authentic, ingredients and to create the vibrant flavors that turned family dinners into celebrated events. Meanwhile, his restaurateur father – owner of Madeiras in Acapulco and Villa Fiore also in Acapulco –imparted lessons in service and restaurant management.
Sandoval, who was once a professional tennis player and had toured the world participating in prestigious matches, had such a passion for food that he decided to enroll in the Culinary Institute of America. Upon graduation, he gained the attention of New Yorkers with his contemporary French restaurants, Savann and Savann Est. Soon, though, he returned to his first love – the food of his childhood and in 1997 he opened Maya, his flagship modern Mexican restaurant in New York.

During the past 15 years Sandoval’s career as a chef and restaurateur has evolved to include serving as a culinary consultant, television personality, cookbook author and brand ambassador. Richard Sandoval Restaurants (RSR) is now a leading international restaurant group with over 35 concepts spanning Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Nevada, New York, Virginia and Washington, D.C., as well as in Dubai, Mexico, Qatar and Serbia. Restaurant Hospitality recently named Richard Sandoval Restaurant’s as one of the “25 Coolest Multi-concept Companies.”


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Najat Kaanache

(Chef Partner at Piripi Restaurant, US)

Najat Kaanache was raised amid the natural beauty and pure simplicity of her family’s olive and wheat fields in the Spanish Pyrenees and Moroccan Atlas. Along her inspired journey through the world of gastronomy Kaanache has walked elbow to elbow with an astounding array of master chefs and artists. Trained in legendary Michellin 3-star restaurants Ell Bulli, Noma, The French Laundry, Per Se and Alinea. Kaanache developed a firm conviction that food is the most important connection humans have with the earth. She continues to share her love, knowledge and respect for food with the world. Culinary icon Ferran Adria stated, “ Najat Kaanache’s passion for creativity and innovation should be a reference for the whole country… She is four times better than I was when I became the chef at El Bulli”. In addition to lecturing and teaching on the science of cooking at institutions like Harvard, New York University and Le Cordon Blue. Kaanache will be serving up an immersive dining experience at Piripi in Coral Gables.


Eduardo Osuna

(Owner /chef  al Rescate, Mexico)

Born in Mexico in 1976. Their beginnings in the world of gastronomy has got by chance, when he started working in a restaurant to pay for your backpacking trip through Europe. Instead of returning to his native country to study civil engineering, he decided to stay in Girona, Spain, and begin your culinary education, where, with the help of great teachers, learned the secrets of both traditional techniques of French, Spanish cuisine Catalan as cutting edge techniques applied to European cuisine. Back in Mexico, earned his degree in Business Administration and Operation of restaurants, and I worked on some of the best restaurants in Mexico and then make the leap to the hotel dining, where it reached the position of Executive Chef, and continued its rapid growth to become one of forced references of contemporary Mexican cuisine, today shared knowledge as a teacher in various training institutes in Mexico. He now runs his own restaurant, which amazes its guests with its original Mexican cuisine. In 2006 he founded the foundation “Chefs to the Rescue” nonprofit doomed to raise funds that are delivered 100% to social cause’s organization. Among his numerous awards are counted first in the National Creative Chef Competition 2006 Nestlé, and The Key to Progress award 2008 given by the AMAIT-ABASTUR association executive in the hotel category. Eduardo In 2010 he joined elgourmet.com , where his fame and recognition continue to grow, wrapped in the love of growing viewership.


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Diego Hernández

-Diego Hernandez [Owner /chef , Corazon de Tierra, Mexico, Latin America Best 50 in the world]

Diego Hernández Baquedano is a culinary celebrities. This thirty-trained chef in restaurant kitchens as Manzanilla with  Benito Molina , Guillermo Gonzalez and Enrique Olvera. In 2008, he completed his professional culinary training in Tijuana while he was chef and partner of his first restaurant-A, also in Tijuana. In 2011, in partnership with La Villa del Valle Hernandez opened Baquedano  Heart of Earth , a restaurant where food Baja Californian is co-owner and chef.
Chosen by the magazine  Wine Enthusiast  as one of the top destinations to visit this year, the region of Baja California in Mexico stands out for its fresh, local produce for your kitchen craft art, and their  wines  organic whose quality falls short the best in the world. And it is here, in this prime location in the heart of Valle de Guadalupe in Baja California, the Heart of Earth restaurant, part of the romantic hacienda La Villa del Valle and Vineyard acclaimed Vena Cava hides. Heart of Earth, a restaurant that represents the concept of  food from field to table , serving a menu created daily with ingredients from the garden, seasonal, organic and region. The restaurant has a harmonious and natural architectural design; with its open kitchen and dining area that connects to the garden, field and vineyard. “The earth connection is essential to man,” Hernandez told Baquedano to Que Rica Vida in a recent interview. Following the wave of awards and the restaurant is among the 50 best in Latin America for 2013, according to the magazine  Restaurant Magazine . For his part, the chef Hernández Baquedano was nominated as Best New Chef by the magazine  Travel and Leisure Mexico  in 2011.