March 22, 2016

Nelson Méndez

A native of Puerto Ayacucho, in the Venezuelan Amazon, and of Baré descendancy, Nelson Mendez’s professional culinary career begins when, obeying to vocation, he decides to work in a restaurant in Ciudad Bolivar in order to pay for his schooling in Hospitality. In 1984 he enters university and settles in Caracas. There he becomes a part of the kitchen of Hotel Tamanaco Internacional under Franz Müller, a french-trained German chef with an iron character. Through this experience, he strengthened his passion for cleanliness, attention to detail and excellence. A year and a half later, he begins work under Wolfgang Enkel at the old Hilton Hotel in Caracas, growing under the demands and the high technical standards of the best Caracas hotels of the 1980s. In 1988 he joins the team at the Hotel Ritz, also in Caracas, and shortly thereafter goes on to become the principal chef, once again under the tutelage of Müller. He remained there for fifteen years and then went on to successfully take over the kitchen at Biarritz Bistró. There, he shared his experience and knowledge with Expedita Palacios, an excellent Venezuelan cook. In 1998, he begins to develop his grand proposal: Venezuelan cuisine from Amazonian ingredients, thus returning to his roots. Nelson has established himself as one of the great amazonian chefs by working the ingredients from the rainforest with techniques from haute cuisine, always careful to highlight the value of the productive models used by the people of the Venezuelan Amazon. He develops gastronomic products applying the latest technology and ancestral knowledge. He has turned his fifteen years of experience investigating the amazonian pantry into a book of his own authorship, “Saberes y Sabores de la Gastronomía Indígena del Estado Amazonas”, and into the co-authorship of the books “Influencias y mestizaje en la cultura gastronómica venezolana”, “Gente que hace escuela” and “El Rol de la Agricultura en la Recuperación del Patrimonio Gastronómico Venezolano”.