When I began cooking, many of the profession's values were clear to me. Others, I have learned and built into my life over time. I remember conversations with my mother (I was quite young at the time), as she spoke to me of the personal sacrifice I would have to make if I ran a restaurant. What kind of meaning could I give to her words when I was merely 14 years old? Because if you think about it, it isn't easy to grasp an entire lifetime dedicated to something at such a tender age. As the years pass, you start to understand what your mother's recommendation meant: cuisine wraps you up, it embraces you, it gives and takes away, yet it also seduces and enamors you. When you look around and realize there's no turning back, you have become her captive. Yet beyond this sacrifice, effort or dedication (during a different time, they even called it "a slave's job"), we have brought dignity to the profession, working toward this goal every day. Living and developing under the sanctuary of a restaurant is something else, and this is what we show the world (it must have been thanks to such great sacrifice...).
When I decided to work in the restaurant business, I was sure who I was and that I wanted to earn a simple living as someone undertaking a humble, craftsman business. Give food and drink and serve the clients coming through the door who choose us to feed their body, and if they allow us, to feed their soul.
Much time has passed since our beginnings, but our commitments have remained almost ideologically identical over the years, all up until today. The product is the central pillar of the work in physical terms. The land as a sign of our DNA. Tradition and memory grant us stability and authenticity. We are accomplices and feel responsible for representing this little place on the table, where its identity is best displayed.
We have blended into the place, making it our own. We've looked at everything, and we continue to do so, with equal parts curiosity, respect, intimacy and distance. We still feel curious, with a need to learn. The thirst for knowledge is both a restless search and a need, all at once. We are explorers. We are passionate about discovering and evolving, building new things that make both us and you feel, moving us with excitement under the prism of hedonism.
Self Portraits takes it one step further. No. Self Portraits is a liberation. This is a value that, by means of one thing or another, seeks to endow cuisine, our cuisine, with imagination. This imagination is an antidote to settling for the mere construction alone, no matter how exceptional and wonderful it may be. Self Portraits is evolution, learning and letting your hair down, looking left and right, but especially straight ahead, so you can gaze into your eyes with sincerity.
It's so you can feel that the ground covered throughout our career helped us to get where we are today. At the moment of truth, our best bet is to continue cooking for many years, with the understanding that the next three Self Portrait hours will bring what we are, what we feel and what we like to your mouths. This is how we will offer you what has managed to excite us, through the human, simple exercise of eating, drinking and serving others.
Self Portraits is a farewell to monotony, to the monopoly we ourselves have created. It requires the complicity of our imagination now more than ever to keep evolving. Self Portraits shows that the product is essential, but not the only thing. That the technique is important, yet not central. That traditions are important, and thank the gods that we have wide, varied traditions, but insofar as they help us to grow. That the region is our DNA, but we illustrate this every day. Ancestral knowledge is an inspiration, but we have not experienced it first-hand. Thus, it is no more than an idealized inspiration from those times. That you can't hold on to (what you have learned) in the past, not even to launch forward. That we're here to look at ourselves in the mirror and infuse life with imagination; otherwise, cuisine is void of its magic. We're going to give it a shot.
Each dish is a portrait of myself. Of myself, and of this team. Yes, but also of you. Eat, and see yourself. How do you look?