Award-winning chef, Jesus Ramiro Flores says food is to be enjoyed, whether cooking or eating it. Brinda Gill certainly enjoyed meeting him.
With his forearms adorned with tattoos that include the word “hello” in the Tibetan script and a tattoo of a deep pink lipstick mark on his neck, Chef Jesus Ramiro Flores Jr, 36, instantly cuts an interesting figure. Recipient of the “Chef l’Avenir’” or Chef of the Future award by the International Academy of Gastronomy in his 2nd year (and the youngest chef to receive it) Chef Ramiro loves to travel and to learn about the local ingredients and cuisines of the places he visits. He brings these influences to bear on his own cooking that spans an array of preparations from wholesome soups to elaborate wedding feasts, from authentic Spanish dishes to his signature creations.
Chef Ramiro Jr was born in Valladolid, the capital of the province of Castile and Leon, north of Madrid, popularly called the tapas capital of Spain and renowned for its culinary heritage and Escuela Internacional de Cocina (International School of Culinary Arts). In a city blessed with beautiful architecture and a vibrant Born in Valladolid, Chef Jesus Ramiro Flores made an early start in his chosen career november-december 2017 Sommelier INDIA 73 culinary heritage, young Ramiro grew up watching his family members cook meals and enjoy meals together. He started working at a restaurant at the age of 14 and credits his interest in cooking to his father Chef Jesus Ramiro Sr, famed for his haute cuisine, molecular gastronomy and culinary research.
His father in turn is deeply appreciative of his son’s culinary skills, as is the culinary world of their restaurant, Restaurante Ramiro’s, located at the top of the Museum of Science building in downtown Valladolid. Opened in September 2006, the restaurant received a Michelin Star within a year of its opening, making Chef Jesus Ramiro Jr the youngest chef in Spain to receive this mark of recognition. The restaurant has also twice received the Repsol Sun, a distinction awarded to the best restaurants and chefs by The Association of Friends of the Spanish Royal Academy of Gastronomy (Real Academia de Gastronomía) and the Good Food Guild (Cofradía de la Buena Mesa).
Chef Ramiro Jr.’s twin passions of travel and learning new cuisines have resulted in his working with celebrated chefs at Valladolid, Tenerife (the largest of Spain’s Canary Islands), Madrid, Segovia (at the famous Meson de Candido), and at his father’s restaurants in the Dominican Republic, Miami and Puerto Rico. At each place he enjoyed learning about local ingredients from the humblest to the most exotic, cooking techniques and traditional specialities, and then drew from these to give a new expression to a traditional dish or to create a new dish.
As a result of all his travels and experiences, Chef Ramiro Jr has seized on one great truth: food is to be enjoyed – both in the processes of cooking it and eating it. Whether it’s a simple tapas or a multi-course sit-down meal, he sees food as a celebration – to be enjoyed with a drink of one’s preference rather than getting overly concerned about food and wine pairings.
His favourite meals are traditional Spanish preparations of Tortilla de Patatas (the thick Spanish omelette made with eggs and potatoes), Alubias y Almejas (beans with clams), Callos de Bacalao (cod stew), and Careta de Cerdo (pig’s cheeks) and the elaborate Solomillo al Hojaldre (Sirloin pastry) prepared his way. He doesn’t wrap the sirloin in pastry, and does a sirloin purée on the side.
Preferring to cook with local and seasonal ingredients, Chef Ramiro Jr is always on the lookout for what is new and fresh in local markets. Bringing out the aromas, colours and textures of ingredients, with each contributing to the sensory experience of the dish, coupled with an attention to detail in creating preparations that are a visual delight – this is what he enjoys most.
It could be in a simple salad of cod (the first fish that came to Segovia preserved in salt), orange, cherry tomatoes and salad leaves, drizzled with oil to provide freshness of colours and taste. Or it could be the chicken soup he learnt from his grandmother, who said a bowl of it could keep one working for ten hours! He says the soup is simple to make and ideal for large families – sautéed garlic, added chicken stock, chicken pieces, paprika and panfried bread making it a wholesome dish. When asked for a tip for aspiring chefs, he says simply, “Cook with love!”
Diners can enjoy Chef Ramiro’s cuisine at Mesón de Cándido, Segovia, and at Restaurante Ramiro’s, Valladolid. He also conducts demonstrations, holds workshops and culinary sessions. Chef Ramiro Jr has an R & D Centre in Valladolid called Taller de Cocina Ramiro’s or Ramiro’s Cooking Workshop, where experiments with food are continually in progress. v Address: Camino Viejo de Simancas, Km. 5,3. 47008 Valladolid, Spain ramirostaller.blogspot.com.es