In this Daily: A Traveling Soul
Tonight at the Beach Club, Chef Gilberto Briceño will be hosting Cuba Libre, a meal inspired by the vibrant culture and cooking traditions of Cuba. There’s a story behind all of the Alma Viajera Pop-Ups, drawing the road that took Chef Briceño to Las Catalinas.
A few years ago Chef Briceño left Costa Rica, taking a one way ticket to Spain drawn by a powerful love for cooking. He had no exit strategy, and only a vague plan, but was driven by his dream and the fierce determination to make it real. He managed to find a home in some of the premier kitchens of Europe, working for room and board under the tutelage of culinary greats.
His journey took him from Barcelona through the continent to Stockholm, where in time he found himself drawn back to the Americas, making his return across the sea at the continent’s tip in Patagonia. It was a few months later, in a restaurant in Brazil, when a chance conversation gave rise to a new focus, and a new vision.
“I was talking to these people, and they told me that they had driven 9 hours to come eat at this restaurant. And I thought, wow, that’s amazing, this food was so special that people would drive 9 hours to come eat it. I want to make something that is that special here in Costa Rica.”
To do that, Chef Briceño is embracing the colorful, exciting, and sometimes strange possibilities provided by Costa Rican ingredients, a natural bounty rivaling any nation in the world. However, he also loves to bring in elements of his travels, letting influences of Japan, France, Cuba, South America and more inspire cooking.
The one constant is the fact that into each meal he weaves stories of his childhood, his travels, and his love for the land that he calls home. Take a listen when you’re at Cuba Libre tonight, because they’re stories that he loves to share.
Photo Credits to Chef Briceño