Juan Sebastián Pérez, Executive Chef & Entrepreneur
Juan Sebastián Pérez began his career in kitchens when he was 15 years old, working after school. He finished school at 17, and immediately applied to Le Cordon Bleu Mexico. After three months, Juan Sebastián got a job in the preparation kitchen at his school and soon he become chef`s assistant, and would go on to graduate with the Grand Diplôme. He returned to Ecuador to work in the most prestigious restaurants and hotels of Quito and the Galapagos Islands.
10 years after starting his culinary journey, Juan Sebastián opened his restaurant Quitu Identidad Culinaria, and has become a leader in South American native cuisine and fair trade business models for restaurants of the region.
When did you realise you wanted to become a chef?
Five years into my profession, I realised this was my lifestyle and my happy place. I couldn`t imagine doing anything else. Even when there was and still is a huge road to take, I decided I had enough knowledge from the basis of cuisine to start a journey in my own land that will never end.
What’s the best thing about being chef?
That I make people happy with my work.
What are your main responsibilities? talk us through your average working day…
I have to keep direct contact with indigenous farmers and producers, and handle my personal time to do research and creativity development with my native ingredients in order to serve a tasting menu that changes every day according to our daily sourcing.
Is there anything that surprised you when starting the role?
Yes, my chef teachers at Le Cordon Bleu. They were so wise and skillfull, it was like they came from another world.
How do you work with your team? Any management tips?
I apply the hospitality rules and teaching techniques I learnt when I was working as a chef`s assistant at Le Cordon Bleu, and also use the patience that my teachers had to get the very best of.
Why did you choose Le Cordon Bleu Mexico?
I chose Le Cordon Bleu Mexico because of the mixture of cultures between French haute cuisine and American biodiversity.
What does le cordon bleu represent for you in one word/sentence?
For me, Le Cordon Bleu means excellence in work, it’s a key to get to know a better version of yourself and transform it into hard work and success.
How did studying the Grand Diplôme® help you to achieve your current role?
If I wasn’t a Le Cordon Bleu Grand Diplôme student, I wouldn’t be free and creative. Having this preparation, gave me enough knowledge to create, innovate and discover my culinary roots, but most of all, be able to teach, show and communicate them to the world.
Do you still meet with Le Cordon Bleu graduates?
Of course, I have even served alumni from India in my restaurant. I learn a lot from my Le Cordon Bleu colleages.
What has been the best moment in your career so far? what have been some challenges you’ve overcome in your role?
In June 2021 I was the first Ecuadorian chef to participate at Madrid Fusion. I performed just like I learnt in Le Cordon Bleu.
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