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Chef Gerardo Gonzalez Perfects the Art of Collaboration

Three years ago, when chef Gerardo Gonzalez announced he was leaving New York for a hotel gig in the Caribbean, some might have wondered why a bright young talent would cut it short. his career.

“I always try to resist a one-sided view of things,” says Gonzalez from Grand Cayman’s Palm Heights hotel, which gave him a snack to reimagine what the dining program would be like in a neighborhood. luxury resort. As it turns out, Gonzalez’s big move is said to be the third time the 38-year-old chef has worked on something. The first time was around 2014, when the soft-spoken San Diego native turned to run the luncheon on the Lower East Side El Rey. There, Gonzalez and his vegan chicharrones spot predict a wave of coveted, morally ambiguous daytime restaurants where people snap pictures of their toast: El Rey is the answer. of the East Coast for Sqirl. Then there’s Lalito, Gonzalez’s last New York project; That restaurant hosted a series of dinners highlighting themes often absent from traditional food pages — a casual party, Tres Lords, focused on Latinx identity and raised funds for the efforts. food sovereignty in Puerto Rico — long before recent calculations of representation in world cuisine.

Chef Gerardo Gonzalez.BALARAMA HELLER.

At Palm Heights, Gonzalez built on these ideas. Since opening the hotel’s flagship restaurant, Tillie’s, he’s hosted eye-catching beachfront venue-filling dinners with creators, Hispanics, athletes and academics , from jewelry designer Soull Ogun and artist Laila Gohar to Nike master trainer Joe Holder. One event used the roti as an avenue to explore connections between South Asia and the West Indies. Another focused on Grand Cayman’s Filipino community. “People have all these associations with the island, involving international lawyers and finance, but there are 100 different nationalities represented here, on a small piece of land,” Gonzalez said.

This type of multidisciplinary cross-pollination is not entirely appropriate for the age of self-isolation. Gonzalez was eager to pack up again. This summer, Trinidad & Tobago-born artist Adam Cooper and Hammer museum curator Erin Christovale will assist in subject selection, performers and guests in an ongoing investigation into the connection.” between the West Indies and South Asia, West Africa, and beyond. In the near future, chef Lee Desrosiers will be a resident of the fire, preparing lavish parties on the beach. For the hotel’s upcoming spa, Gonzalez and his right-hand man at Tillie’s, chef Jake Brodsky (formerly of Eleven Madison Park), are crafting a plant-based menu in consultation with Dr. athletes and health professionals. Gonzalez is also building a delicate cadaver-inspired fermentation lab: When a chef visits, she’ll use what the last guy left behind. Chef Pamela Yung and artist Lexie Smith will be among the opening participants. “Imagine a chef going to Grand Cayman for the first time,” says Gonzalez, “and suddenly encountering miso made from bread, or wine made from the local hibiscus plant.”

Wild caught red shrimp, grilled over charcoal and served with Cayman piri-piri.COURSE ON PALM HEIGHT.

https://www.vanityfair.com/style/2021/07/chef-gerardo-gonzalez-perfects-the-art-of-collaboration | Chef Gerardo Gonzalez Perfects the Art of Collaboration

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