Ecuadorian chef unveils his recipe for success
Friday, 18 April 2008
A passion for food and culture has taken Ecuadorian chef José Montalvo to many corners of the globe in his gastronomic travels.
One of his favourite gourmet destinations - Singapore - just happens to coincide with his graduation from the University of Adelaide this weekend with his Le Cordon Bleu Master of Arts in Gastronomy.
A quick glance at his CV unveils a culinary background that would sate the appetite of most gourmet travellers, let alone the average tourist.
José's apprenticeship with the Hilton Hotel in his home country back in 1999 led to the realisation that his heart lay in hospitality.
Cooking has taken him around the world, from boutique hotels in Ireland, to Italian restaurants in the US and even a stint at a jungle lodge in Ecuador.
"My interest in cooking goes way beyond just eating and making food, however. I'm interested in all the minor details that come into play in the whole process of preparing a meal," he said.
"Coming from a country where food plays an important role in the lives of people, I wanted to attain a better appreciation of food from an historical and cultural perspective. That's why I chose the MA in Gastronomy at the University of Adelaide."
Now living in Shanghai, José is busy learning Mandarin to improve his chances of landing a job in one of the city's many world-class restaurants.
"I want to learn more about the Chinese culture, which is based around the rituals of food and drinks. Lives - and much more - are often decided over a sumptuous dinner and glass of Chinese wine, for example.
"I have found the Gastronomy degree has allowed me to really appreciate these rituals and better understand a culture in which I have fully immersed myself."
José is one of 110 students graduating at an offshore ceremony at the Ngee Ann-Adelaide Education Centre this Saturday 19 April at 2pm.
He's looking forward to sampling some of the cuisine in Singapore, a city he nominates as offering one of the best gourmet experiences in the world.