Who is Humberto Guallpa?
I grew up in rural Ecuador, where my family managed a small farm of vegetables and livestock for the sole purpose of feeding the family. I developed my intense interest in the culinary arts by assisting my grandmother in the kitchen and learning everything I could about the preparation of healthy, balanced meals.
How did you discover your passion for cooking?
I entered the restaurant business as a dishwasher at the age of 17. I discovered my talent and I was motivated towards becoming a great chef in these kitchens and worked my way up through the kitchens as Garde Manager, Line Chef and Sous Chef to my current title of Executive Chef. My formal training led me to combine regional Ecuadorean preparations and ingredients, with French technique to create unique, mouthwatering masterpieces.
Have you worked in the kitchen of any famous chef?
My most recent projects included “Play”: the sultry restaurant at the Museum of Sex; “Vandaag”: the Nordic-inspired restaurant which received two stars from the New York Times and Sag Harbor’s “Page @63 Main”, where my cuisine was inspired by the local farms on Long Island. Prior to that, I worked at perfecting my craft alongside many of New York City’s top-rated chefs, including Mario Batali, Marco Moreira, Paul Zweben, Larry Forgione, Marcus Samuelsson, Rocco Dispirito, Julian Alonzo and Franklin Becker. I also worked as a stagiaire in some of the country’s finest kitchens, including New York’s “Per Se” and “Eleven Madison”, Chicago’s “Alinea”, and “Guy Savoy” in Las Vegas.
Any cooking award under your knife?
I received IED Awards 2016, and a Championship golden medal paella competition first place.
How did you come up with your pop up dinner series?
I started those popups because I want people to taste flavors from my country and share my Ecuadorian culture. After a long process of learning new techniques, ways to cook and how to use the ingredients and being through the best kitchens in USA, now I want to use that knowledge to make my Ecuadorian food and share it with everyone. I knew this wasn’t going to be easy, because I don’t see Latin chefs or immigrants in general under the radar. I want to showcase those chefs who want to share their culture as well, I mix Ecuadorian with Mexican, Dominican, Venezuelan, Filipino, Peruvian. These popups are designed to expose culture and flavors.
Are your pop ups mainly based on Ecuadorian cuisine?
All my popups are Ecuadorian cuisine based.
Where do you find your inspiration?
My inspiration comes from several different places; walking through a farmer’s market reminds me of back home walking in our farm with my grandmother and grandfather, eating out with my fiancée and friends tasting different flavors, most importantly being with my daughter creating memories; she gives me the power to keep going every day and inspires me when I walk with her in the forest. These combinations give me so many inspirational forms and shapes for my everyday discoveries on new ways to cook.
What are your choice of spices?
Star anise, Chinese dry ginger, Chinese cinnamon, cloves, black pepper, dry chilies, juniper berries.
Tell us more about your next pop up?
My next pop up is Ecuadorian-Peruvian, with Peruvian chef Diego Sanchez, this tasting is created to share Ecuadorian and Peruvian flavors and crafting our own culture.
Six courses tasting menu, From the sierra to the coast, from the sea to the mountains “Andes”.
This tasting will be held at Jimmy’s No 43, March 5th 2017
for more information, click on the link below
Name one thing that you love to cook.
I love to cook everything, especially to cook fish.
What’s your favorite dish?
I don’t have a favorite dish. I like every dish. But there is one in particular that I had so much fun cooking and which was inspired by my beautiful daughter Isabella; Pan Seared Wild Stripe Bass, buckwheat grain, fiddle head, Farmers market ramps, wood ear mushrooms, chimichurri.
What is your biggest fear?
My passion for cooking and my career don’t allow me much time to spend quality time with my daughter. The kitchen and cooking take most of my time and I just hope she understands. One day we’ll get to go around the world.
What do you do on your free time?
On my free time, I think about and research about food, spend some time with my fiancée, go for walks, bike, play soccer, hike, swim.
Describe a day in the life of Humberto Guallpa. From waking up to Bed time.
I wake up at 8AM in the morning. Take a shower, get ready for work. Get my cup of coffee on the way. I start working at 9AM and my day goes on in the kitchen. Greet everyone in the kitchen good morning, change into my chef clothes, then find out if all my orders were delivered. Check on the fish, meat, vegetables, verify if my food preparations are going smoothly, set up for lunch service. At lunch, usually it gets crazy but after all this craziness it’s fun time. After lunch, I think of my dinner specials, launch my food preparations make sure I have everything for dinner, the afternoon crew arrives and I summarize with them the tasks to make sure they don’t miss anything for service, then we share the staff meal. Dinner service goes on. At 10 pm I place my orders for next day. I go over and check what was left and make sure my staff does the prep list for the next day. Then a few minutes at the office to finalize my paper work and finally change back to my civilian clothes ready to leave. Most of the time I don’t eat at the restaurant, I get home and make instant noodles or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich while I watch some Netflix. And it’s ok with me. This is a day in my life and it makes me happy.