The highly acclaimed Mario González Acedo is the Executive Chef of the Hotel IBEROSTAR Grand Rose Hall in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Boasting many years of experience in the industry, he is a master of culinary art.
In preparation for the upcoming IBEROSTAR Chef dining experience on Saturday, June 17th, 2017 at the Hotel IBEROSTAR Grand Rose Hall, we caught up with the celebrated chef to discuss food, wine, and much more!
At what point did you decide to become a chef?
When I was in secondary, I realized that it had opened a culinary school in my city. After 3 weeks in there, I knew that I wanted to do it for all my life.
What are 3 foods you recommend all tourists try while in Jamaica?
Jerk chicken, ackee & salt fish and peppered shrimp.
Do you have any favorite herbs or seasonings?
It´s a matter of feelings or combinations, but you can often use a lot of herbs like cilantro, basil and thyme.
What do you find most fulfilling about preparing gourmet cuisine?
It is very passionate and creative. I think it is very fun during the idea, then cooking, mixing different techniques, and finally, plating. It’s an art to me.
What is your favorite dish to cook? Likewise, what is your favorite food to eat?
I don´t have a favorite dish to cook. A good chef normally likes to cook everything, but I can tell you that I love to clean fish. This is one of the most wonderful things to me in the kitchen.
I like to eat everything, but I eat a lot of rice in different versions. Paella is one of my favorites, as well as the Spanish omelette and Iberian ham.
When pairing wine and food, what are your major considerations?
Normally, it’s the sommelier that makes sure the wine will be the complement of the food, not the opposite. In the same way that a selection of notes forms a chord whose harmony is satisfactory to our ears, so does the concept of balance in wine pairing.
In foods, the weight will be defined by the product used, the amount of fat and the intensity of the flavors and elements that make it up.
In the case of wines, the weight will be determined by the body and the intensity of the wine’s taste, degrees of alcohol and, obviously, type of grape.
How would you say your style as a culinary artist has evolved over the years?
I think the way I cook is similar to the way I grow as a person – all the traveling has made an impact in my cooking personality. My ground is more Mediterranean, but right now I would say it´s more globalized. Taking the ingredients of the world are interesting to me.
How do you determine the best food choices when creating culinary fusions?
It`s more like a challenge. You find a product you like, and you only have to think what kind of combination is better, no matter where the product is coming. You can mix Spain, Morocco and Jamaica and still create a great dish.
Of the various essentials of meal preparation, why is visual appeal especially important?
The first impression of the dish is what you see. It all starts with the eyes. At the same time, it’s part of the personality of the chef and can add value to the dish.
What are you most looking forward to at the upcoming Iberostar Chef on Tour dining event?
To show our guests an amazing dining experience prepared by our local staff at the Iberostar Hotel, and to show that the gastronomy at an all-inclusive hotel is much higher than some people may expect.
What dishes are you most excited to prepare for the upcoming Iberostar Chef event?
All of them are great and I don´t want to give much details to make sure I surprise them completely, but I can guarantee that:
“The mango ravioli with salmon tartar and Tamarind will be spectacular.”
“The turkey cream-soup is tasty and delicious.”
“The fish will be fresh and great.”
… with some combination of France, Mexico and, of course, Jamaica!
What elements make dining at Iberostar Grand Rose Hall such a unique and unforgettable experience?
I think the production is really good, but the combination of great food with exquisite wine pairing will create a great night to enjoy. I hope to see all of you there and to make you feel everything I´m talking about!
To reserve your tickets now, visit Iberostar Chef on Tour.
*Interview by Princella Talley