Martim Maita, the Chef of Park Grill at Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel and Villas is one step closer to being named the Best In The World at the S.Pellegrino Young Chef Competition 2019-2020.
Chef Martim is one among 135 candidates from 12 regions, representing 50 countries who will display their culinary skills on a global stage. It was announced earlier this month that more than 2,400 applicants entered the world-famous competition with just Chef Martim making it from the UAE.
The 28-year old rising culinary star with over a decade of experience has been merited to being the force behind the game changing concepts that has put the Park Grill at the centre of Abu Dhabi’s food map. Chef Martim’s passion for the culinary arts began in his family kitchen nestled in São Paulo, Brazil. He learned the secrets to perfecting Syrian, Lebanese and French cuisines from his maternal grandparents who doled out everything from Lebanese Shish Barak to Gnocchi, Brazilian rice, Beans and Cassava flour for their weekly Sunday lunch.
His real education in gastronomy was in 2008 when he graduated from SENAC University in Brazil with a degree in Culinary Arts and later completed a specialization course in avant-garde culinary techniques, from the Basque Culinary Center, San Sebastian, Spain, otherwise recognized as the epicentre of contemporary gastronomic research. Chef Martim joined the Hyatt family in 2010 and has since redefined the boundaries of contemporary cuisine.
Come October, Chef Martim will vie for the S.Pellegrino title by recreating his signature dish- Onion, veal offal, salsify, garden weeds. He revealed how the potentially award winning dish came into being, the inspirations that went behind its creation and how it defines him as a chef.
Chef Martim stated, “This dish is a representation of me as a chef. Its origin comes from a reflection. In the restaurant where I used to work, it was difficult to get good quality products. One day I purchased an onion for which the value was almost three times higher than the usual price. People looked at me like I was a lunatic for spending all that money on an onion. This made me contemplate the value of a product such as an onion, which is not only the flavor base of many preparations, but is also a complex and versatile ingredient”.
He continued, “One day I chanced upon a parody verse from a famous poem by Gertrud Stein (A rose is a rose is a rose): An onion is an onion is an onion. This was the beginning of my dish, a tribute to the technical possibilities of this humble and often neglected ingredient. I reversed the common order of vegetables as secondary to animal protein in the development of a dish”.
“From the onion, I arrived at the veal offal. This is a common combination, with infinite variations, in the peasant cuisine of several countries: offal and caramelized onions. I use sweetbread, tongue, tendon and marrow to maximize the utility of resources. Following a seminar I attended with Mugaritz Restaurant’s lab team, I became increasingly interested in the incredible range of flavors possible through fermentation processes. These strange and surprising flavors are on the plate through anchovy garum, Jerez and shallot prepared with Japanese black garlic through long and slow caramelization. The edible weeds, with their unconventional and slightly aggressive flavors bring estrangement, besides being a coherent choice to the rest. Finally, salsify, also a humble product, sometimes called ‘poor men asparagus’ with its creamy consistency and delicate flavor, serves as a bed, bringing tranquility and normalcy” said the Chef.
Chef Martim Maita will be joined by his mentor, Executive Chef Ivan Musoni of Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel and Villas at the S.Pellegrino Young Chef Grand Finale, which will be held in South Africa in October.
For more information, visit www.hyatt.com/parkhyatthotelandvillas