Alejandro Cuéllar is the chef-companion of Canasta Picnic Bistro, a restaurant that caters to the scrumptious and sustainable, while at the identical time expressing Colombia’s variety of flavors on a plate. Alongside his other passions – pictures, track, and film – Cuéllar has evolved a signature style to his dishes, stimulated by using the auteur of everything shade, Wes Anderson. While ensuring the arena understands the complexity of Colombian cuisine, the Bogotá primarily based chef is one in a selected institution of the Colombian government in fee of getting ready our representative staples.
Alejandro Cuéllar (AC): I have been cooking due to the fact that I become 14 – perhaps even before – and found it to be a pleasing pastime, no longer a lot extra than an interest. When I graduated from college, I went to France and become brought to the so-called “gastronomic lifestyle”: in different phrases, everything that goes on a plate. In France, as in such a lot of different European nations, each dish has recorded; a motive for current, from the political to the social and, of course, cultural. A connection to nature is also very sturdy with foraging and incorporating suitable for eating plants. This time-examined bond between farmers and customers spread out possibilities for me, and after six months in Paris, I lower back to Bogotá. While I was analyzing Business Administration, the handiest factor I may want to reflect on consideration on became exploring the heart and soul of the Colombian geographical region. I had never come into contact with the character of characters that produce what we consume, so I decided on pursuing gastronomy.
AC: My parents have constantly been innovative, and while my mother died in 2007, I decided on beginning my own kitchen garden within the town of Guasca and named it Santa Beatriz. This natural orchard is the muse at the back of Canasta Picnic Bistro. My mom also played an essential function in growing what has become a differentiator in my career as a chef: foraging and cooking with wild foods. I additionally needed to find a way of linking my other passions in life – music, movie, and images – into my professional existence.
AC: My orchard/herb lawn became a laboratory and nevertheless plays a critical role at the coronary heart of what I consult with as my “spontaneous kitchen.” Wild vegetation grows in Santa Beatriz, I just gather them. This unfolded the specter of botanical exploration, the suitable for eating global that surrounds us. Flowers are not the simplest lovely but scrumptious. On the farm, I also have bees, free-roaming hens, and trout. The wild kitchen exists around us, even right here, in El Virrey Park, there is so many plant life one ought to eat. In truth, one could eat all of Bogotá, if one wanted to.
AC: The “wild kitchen” has become part of my culinary narrative, and I actually have an insatiable interest in my environment. Ironically, I in no way wanted to have an eating place and become nearly pressured into having one. What I experience are avant-garde cooking strategies that I can do in my herbal laboratory. Finding a culinary narrative, like the color choice in a Wes Anderson film can’t be accomplished by way of trial and error. Color in food may be used as a device to speak. Gastronomy is a language that allows me to express myself greater eloquently. That’s why you won’t locate me internal a kitchen.
AC: Sustainability is all about generating a fine impact at the social, monetary and environmental. With one circumstance that the pastime one chooses doesn’t negatively affect future generations in developing an identical activity. I try to communicate this to my customers. If I tell a person: “No, you cannot eat meat, as it’s awful for you,” I will generate a negative reaction, and that is not a sustainable technique to any business. Sustainability is all about incorporating desirable practices in food.