A journey of flavors, in the best company. Martiform talked to Luca Arguelles about his most recent adventure in the Maldives.The Pastry Chef, shares how he took his experience and incorporated local flavors by designing a unique experience for Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru.
How did this opportunity to develop a consultancy work at Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru come about?
This opportunity arose from the fact that I was their Pastry Chef during 2009 and 2010. I always kept in close contact with everyone and, knowing that I was available, they invited me to help with the modernization of desserts from the 4 restaurants of the Resort, as well to assist in the preparation of amenities for Christmas Season.
What impressed you most about this experience?
The fact of returning to a place where I was very happy, a place that I see almost as a second home, after so many years of leaving, find a lot of people from that time, and everyone remember me for the best reasons. Returning to Paradise, to a FourSeasons, after so many years as a consultant, is a source of pride, a sign that I did something very good at the time.
What the international professionals think about Portuguese gastronomy?
As a general rule, everywhere I have been, they find our Gastronomy wonderful, a very simple gastronomy, but at the same time very complex, we do a lot with little, they really appreciate it. Regarding our Pastry, they don’t like it as much, they think it is too sweet.
How did you start your career as a Pastry Chef?
My career started around the age of 9 or 10 years with my mother, a little out of obligation, but right away I got the taste, I knew how to dip my finger in the eggnog of Sponge Cake for example (laughs). Since that time I knew it was Pastry that I wanted to make. When I completed my 9th year at school I didn`t want to continue studies, but my Mother insisted that I should complete high school, and so I did. The course I chose, the only one available in the region, was Hotel / Restaurant at EPRAL in Monforte, due to the fact that it has pastry included. My goal was learning a lot and going back to the family business, but … it wasn’t like that. With internships in between, friends that I got to know and because I feel good in the hospitality environment, I decided to follow the path of gastronomy. I was gaining taste, desires and becoming more ambitious… the rest is history.
You have a vast international curriculum. Do you consider that the diversity of cultures in which you worked influenced your profile as a Pastry Chef?
Undoubtedly! We have to travel, know, learn from all the cultures we can. We are very different, but in the end we are all the same. Above all, it introduced me to ingredients that would not have happened otherwise. Everywhere I went, I absorbed as much as I could of the local customs, traditions, and cultures, but also guaranteed that they absorbed the maximum of Portuguese culture and customs. Bringing a little of them and leaving a little of us only enriches.
What differentiates traditional Portuguese pastry from others?
Our traditional pastry is unique and special. With 4 or 5 ingredients we have a huge repertoire of sweets all over the country and everything we can make special is impressive. No other country can say the same.
There are many types of Pastry around the world, each with its own style, flavors, influences, traditions, but none as rich as ours. I just feel sorry that it is not so well known, recognized and valued abroad, where they only know the Custard Pastel.