Categories: Opinion

“Since I opened my eyes I have been related to cooking”

The kitchen has marked the course of his existence for as long as he can remember. As a child, Coque used to help her mother prepare manás, or chocolate balls, for the catering business that made her famous. Later, entrenched in his culinary vocation, Ossio went to study at the Culinary Institute of America in New York. The cosmopolitan flavors of the Big Apple, together with the natural curiosity of this culinary explorer, marked his personal style. Right hand of his mother -the incomparable Marisa Guiulfo, who passed away in December 2021- in the family restaurants, there are many projects that this chef and gastronomic entrepreneur has been developing with his own name.

From the continuation of the legacy of La Bonbonniere, passing through La Plazita, Kion, Le Coq (a Miraflores restaurant that celebrates French cuisine) and more recently Epicerie Dasso. That, without mentioning all the projects he has with Cusco Restaurants, his restaurant group in the Imperial City. Among them, Incanto, Limo and Pachapapa.

— Do you think that love for cooking is something that is inherited or is it born with it?

I believe that there must definitely be something in the DNA, but I also think that there is a lot from the environment in which one has grown up. If you have had the opportunity to see products, recipes, smells, the work of the cooks themselves since you were a child, I think that you can either get this taste or suddenly, the opposite, and not enjoy it at all.

— And how was it in your case?

I think that since I opened my eyes I have been related to the kitchen because my mother, who took care of us, had to work to support us. In our house she started her business, first with small things, sweet cakes. We helped her since we were little to make manna balls, chocolate balls, to make pyrotines. Even when we were little (with my brothers) we used to play restaurant.

— What do you think have been the advantages that having this childhood has given you?

It definitely gave me the whole base to show myself, plus I liked it. Then I decided to study business administration, which has also been very useful for this more business side. But my childhood helped me to learn how these spaces were managed, learn about dedication, creativity and a lot of vocation, all thanks to my mother.

— Do you consider yourself a chef or a gastronomic entrepreneur?

I think both, but today I am more of a gastronomic entrepreneur. It is also that calling oneself a chef requires going through certain things, it is not only someone who finishes a degree in gastronomy. The title of chef is earned when you manage to actually run a kitchen, with all the responsibilities that come with it.

— It is inevitable to talk about your mother. I believe that one of the greatest legacies that she left behind is La Bonbonniere, as a brand and as a space, in her classic location in San Isidro.

Of course. Now I am in charge of this space and this year we are 70 years old and we are preparing for that. We did a kind of remodeling, in which we made the space beautiful, all for my mom. It was by the hand of Eduardo de las Casas, decorator and close friend of hers.

– How was the experience?

This is a bit of a tribute to her, a way to remember her at all times. It was nice to be able to do it. I always remember her, in everything I do. Even here I see two paintings that were once in her house and I am moved. There are several little things, even being here in the bistro, I remember the first project I had with my mother, with the French base.

— What was it that won you over French cuisine to bet on a proposal like Le Coq?

It is that French cuisine is a bit of the base, the one that systematized all things a bit. On that side, all of us who study have that French base, which is what we learn. Also, I have been lucky enough to travel a lot. I love the food of many European countries, but the level of service, cooking and sophistication of the French for me is unmatched. They offer an elegant and complete experience.

— If we talk about your projects, it is important to mention the proposals that are in Cusco. How’s that going?

Tourism was completely paralyzed and that affected us completely. It has been very difficult for us to maintain everything, our proposals and the work team. Raising everything takes time and we were on the right track, until last year the turbulence in the country changed things. This first semester has been weaker than we expected. But always with the hope that Cusco, being a tourism magnet, will allow us to continue growing. We will be fighting.

— Did you ever consider the idea of ​​dedicating yourself to events like your mother and, currently, your brother?

Putting those events together is a great job and I really admire what they have accomplished. I love my brother’s work and my mom’s. I have participated in the development of some snacks or dishes for events, but I like longer-lasting, more structured projects. In addition, that tremendous tension of attending to a thousand people or even 400 or 200, so that everything happens in a single night, is something that I cannot deal with, it is strong.

— It is a more strenuous job than many may consider.

Imagine, in addition to creating a menu, preparing it and having to assemble everything in one space, things that already have a lot of work involved, at the end everything must be left impeccable. My mom spent her time working and even at dawn. I have that memory of her arriving at 5 or 6 am with the car loaded with her things.

— How is the work dynamic with your brothers?

On the one hand, I work with my brother José in the service part of the dining room. He is a wonderful brother and he is very charismatic. I work with him on a day-to-day basis. With Felipe it is not like that, he is dedicated to the catering service. Fortunately we have our roles very clear and we never cross each other, but we do give each other advice. He sometimes asks me for things and sometimes I ask him for help, we always support each other.

— If you had to introduce someone to Marisa Guiulfo, how could you define her?

(Laughs) First like my mom, who is closest to my little heart. But it is difficult, they have called her the Great Lady of Peru and many other things. She is a wonderful woman who really means to me everything I know, what I have learned. It’s all thanks to her, on a human and professional level. But I would just introduce her as my mom, the best in the world.

— What new projects do you have in mind?

We have a Greek-style house in Pucusana. My mom always told us about her time in Greece, about the delicious octopus, the tomatoes and the incredible salads. That’s why I want to rescue those recipes, thanks to the stories that have permeated me. I would like to explore the very natural Greek cuisine and highlight ingredients such as lamb, fish, olive oil, dates, pistachios, feta cheese and much more.

Fact:

le coq is located at Av. Santa Cruz 828, Miraflores, while Epicerie Dasso It is at Miguel Dasso 102, San Isidro.

Source: Elcomercio