Chef Guillem Vidal, who is presently at Hilton Beijing Wangfujing Hotel, grew up in his grandmother’s kitchen in Spain. She taught him to understand flavours, textures and aromas. Vidal, who comes from La Fuliola, a small village on the border of Cataluna and France, an hour’s drive away from Barcelona, talks about his passion for cooking. Excerpts from the interview:
Chef Guillem Vidal
Q. What is special about your food?
A. I have had rich experiences working in Michelin-starred restaurants, and I mainly focus on modern and molecular cuisines. Hilton Beijing Wangfujing Hotel, where I currently work, has four restaurants. I spend most of my time at Flames, a Mediterranean restaurant which offers grill and molecular gastronomy dishes.
Q. What are the core ingredients of Spanish cuisine?
A. The core ingredients while cooking Spanish foods are olive oil, rice, paprika, serrano Ham, chorizo, saffron and sherry vinegar. There are very limited techniques to prepare traditional Spanish food, which are usually bakes, stews, grills, steamed, deep-fried and cured.
Q. What are your childhood memories of food? What were your early influences?
A. The aroma of hot chocolate melting in a pot on a Sunday morning is what had me go to the kitchen. I used to have a piece of dry bread dipped in the melted chocolate.
Q. What menu have you planned for Mumbai?
A. The idea is to transfer the flavours from a Tapas bar in the streets of las Ramblas “Barcelona” to Asado.
>> 2 ½ kg tomatoes
>> 1 cucumber, peeled
>> 1 small white onion, peeled and cut in small cubes
>> 1 green bell pepper
>> 1 garlic clove
>> 100 gm white bread
>> 100 ml olive oil
>> Salt, black pepper, red wine vinegar to taste
>> 500 ml water
>> Cut the bread into small pieces, and place inside a bowl
>> Add two soup spoons of vinegar, olive oil, and salt and peper to taste
>> To this, add 100 ml water
>> Cut all the vegetables in small cubes and add to the bowl, mixing well. Cover and marinate on the chiller overnight.
>> Blend and strain, modify season as per taste