Interview with Ricki Motta
28/05/2019

Interview with Ricki Motta

Born in Mendoza, he is the Chef of Bodega Garzón’s Restaurant since 2015 and stands among the most renowned chefs of the region. We invite you to learn about his journey next to Francis Mallmann, his work in Garzón and his vision for the future of the winery.

1 – Tell us about the beginning of your career and the experience of working next to Francis Mallmann.

My first contact with Francis´ cuisine was in the Restaurant 1884 in Mendoza, where I worked as an intern for three months. His teams are always made up by great people, and after I finished my internship I remained in good terms with all of them, so they later called me to work in a few events as collaborator. By that time I was around 20 years old.

After that, between 2013 and 2015, I worked two times in the restaurant Siete Fuegos en Valle de Uco, Mendoza. Each period lasted six months and in the second one I worked as a Sous Chef.

Then, Francis offered me to be part of the team of Bodega Garzón’s restaurant. I came to Uruguay to work as a Head Chef and began participating in the events that Francis carries out throughout the world, mainly in Europe and USA.

I consider this a truly enriching experience, Francis is very generous and offers freedom and plenty of opportunities. The relationship between chefs is excellent, we share recipes and experiences in every trip. Working for Mallmann is a great experience, we are constantly learning from him.

2 – Which are the main characteristics and target of the restaurant in Garzón?

Today, its main characteristic is that it is a winery restaurant that follows Mallmann’s philosophy, including his fire cuisine techniques. We create tasting menus with different options, using a wide variety of meats and vegetables, always including Francis’ quality seal but with a different approach to the one of Pueblo Garzón’s restaurant. In the winery we use his recipes, however we also have the freedom to try new things, provided that we respect the parameters established by Francis. This project seeks to endure and evolve, and to meet the standards of the winery. Wine is the leading character, and our role is to pair it with quality products. We also organize events. The idea is that the restaurant stands as a year-round tourism and gastronomic offer of the region.

3 – What influence does Francis Mallmann have in the creation of the menu of each season?

Francis himself is the influence. He conveys clear messages and he has a less is more philosophy. To cook using the hands a lot, to avoid over handling raw materials and to work with fresh seasonal products. We prepare each menu with the team, which are later tasted by Francis and adjusted according to his feedback.

With time, we got to know his taste, so our initial proposals don’t get many changes. There is a balance between what we prepare and the influence that the entire team received from him and his techniques.

4 – Which percentage of the ingredients used are produced in Garzón?

This depends on each season and on the local production. Today, a 30% of the products used are elaborated in Garzón, including the olive oil Colinas de Garzón. All the rest are produced in Uruguay, but not necessarily in our land. The lambs are also raised in the area.

5 – How important is the fire in Garzón’s cuisine?

The fire is very important given that Mallmann´s great influence is based on this technique. The visible part of the kitchen is the area dedicated to the fires. Even though there are others with great fire kitchens and techniques, I belive our restaurant is the most outsanding one.

6 – How do you imagine the restaurant 10 years from now?

I imagine and also hope for it to maintain its identity, to keep satisfying the needs of customers and motivating the whole team. It is continously growing, and the aim is for it to sustain itself once it reaches its peak. I also think that more and more private events will be carried out, and we are on the right track to make this project an icon of the region in the following 10 years.

7 – What is the personal touch of the dishes served in the restaurant?

I’m not sure if I can say that I include a personal touch in my dishes, I am still training and learning in my field.

However, I do belive that my personal touch is seen in the work behind, rather than in the dish itself. I also find horizontal management very important, talking with the chefs, letting them give their own opinions and providing a space for communication and creativity within the team. I later make adjustments to blend the taste of the client with Francis’, so I think that the process made to achieve the final menu is my personal characteristic.

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