Today we have a chat with Esteban García, Colombian born and raised living in Sydney, Australia since 2007. Both his parents are Colombian. He was born in Medellin. Then at age 17 he decides to move to Sydney to study English and experience other culture. Since then, food and pastry changed his life and decided to stay and forge a life in that country.
Tell us a bit about you
Prior to finishing high school I spent a few month in Canada learning English, then came back and finished high school and took off to Sydney.
I soon realised that Australia had a really full on gastonomic seen and sydneysiders appreciated good food and coffee. Totally different to what I was used to in Colombia. Its strong cultural mix made all australia a beautifull core of mixed influences. Asia especially has a deep influence in the way people eat here. After two years I decided to study cookery and went to a cooking school for another 2 years. I worked at fine dinning restaurants and ended up loving it. Soon realised that was what I wanted to do.
In regards to aussie food, What type of restaurants have you worked at?
From dinning to casuals, In larder, fish and meat section and then pastry. I consider myself a all-rounder chef.
¿Have you tried introducing your Colombian heritage to the food you make?
Whenever I can I cook food with my knowledge of Colombian cuisine. However this is more for staff meals and some desserts. I have a big project coming up in 2017 and will combine a lot of my roots.
I had the oportunity of participating in a Colombian food event (pop up night) in San Sebastián, Spain. I group of Colombian chefs and basque culinary students. Lots of companies from Colombia sponsored us. Dinner was great and Spaniards loved it. It was awesome promoting our cuisine in a food capital like San Sebastian.
¿Would you leave savoury cooking for pastry?
Already did. Although I have never been able to fully detach from savoury cooking. I love it and think I do well enough for most cuisines. I might not be the best but have general knowledge of asian, american, european food overall.
In your time in Europe, apart from learing and working one of your dreams was to eat at some of the best restaurants in Spain and Eurpope form the San Pellegrino “The World’s 50 Best Restaurants”. Tell us about it
There is no such thing as michelin stars in Australia but another classifying system so I wanted to try as many as I could.
Azurmendi was one of the best experiences as a dinner, asador etxebarri had some of the best food and meat. Osteria francescana had very complex food but average service. I did love all of them tho. It was just a joy to travel and eat.
¿How was your experience in Azurmendi as a stagier?
As an experience, it was incredible although you have to go through a lot of 'sweet and tears' You learn to be discipline and very clean and learn about new techniques and local food. Something I enjoyed but wouldn't ever do it again.
Bubo in Barcelona was a lot more calmed and enjoyable. Got to learn so much about patisserie and chocolaterie.
Finally, Sweet or savoury?
Sweet. But with balance. It can't just be only sweet. It has to have a purpose.
Spanish version here: Interview