CULINARIUM

Crónica: Gerson Atalaya y su Meraki Restaurante

La juventud en la cocina es un cuchillo de doble filo. La falta de experiencia, la creatividad sin freno que se suele estimular en escuelas de cocina y la ilusoria ruta fácil hacia el éxito culinario provocado por el rápido auge de la cocina peruana, hacen que muchos jóvenes cocineros sueñen en alcanzar relevancia obviando lo indispensable. La escritora Doris Lessing decía que la inteligencia estaba sobrevalorada, que no escasea el talento sino la constancia. Cocineros que admiro, algunos consolidados, coinciden en que la verdadera escuela es el trabajo, en el fragor del rush, en el carácter forjado desde el deep cleaning y, sobre todo, en la constancia, que es la carta de presentación de cualquier cocinero. Gerson Atalaya (23) es joven, soñador y ambicioso. Formado en Pachacutec y en las canteras de Astrid & Gastón (Cesar Bellido), Mo Café (Matías Cilloniz), María Zuñiga y 1087 Bistro (Palmiro Ocampo), empezó a soñar y crecer arruinándolo todo, como todo puberto frente al mundo. Su obsesión por replicar recetas de sus jefes y revisar técnicas culinarias de tendencia en internet, lo llevaron a destruir su casa: someter a prueba la tolerancia y bolsillo de su padre, experimentar con los paladares de sus hermanos y hacer constantes sacrilegios en esa cocina que dejó para siempre de ser jurisdicción de su madre. En eso fue constante, en el ensayo-error que, finalmente, le hizo encontrarse a sí mismo. Por eso siempre está preguntando con franca humildad por esa retroalimentación que su cocina y su recién inaugurado restaurante necesitan. Es un estupendo ejercicio que muchos ya no replican. Ese nivel de autoconciencia para reconocer oportunidades de mejora y apreciarlas para trabajar en ellas (como en sus días de escuela) definen su restaurante. No obstante, la creatividad desde el ensayo-error no es suficiente para consolidar un negocio. Soy un convencido de que la creatividad no se debe superponer al negocio. Establecer límites a la mente creativa del cocinero y fijar cuadrantes sean conceptuales, de coherencia en carta, financieros u otros es imperativo. Ese equilibrio que el ambicioso hemisferio derecho de Gerson necesita se lo brinda la razón aplicada que apunta a la sostenibilidad del negocio. Es ahí donde su familia interviene, socios clave en la consolidación de la carrera de Gerson y principales inversionistas de Meraki Restaurante. El gran esfuerzo que han hecho en apostar todo por la joven promesa, sacrificar salas y cuartos de un edificio familiar para llenarlo de mesas, sillas, un counter y una pequeña cocina que vuelven real el sueño, es el gran aterrizaje que una mente joven necesita. El resultado son platos pensados y repensados -hasta reformulados- que me hacen regresar feliz al restaurante como el Bun de Cerdo (pan bao casero, cerdo laqueado en BBQ de hoisin, manzana verde, culantro e hilos de camote); el Lomo Saltado (tradicional receta de cuadril al jugo, papas craqueladas y pan de cardamomo); y la Crema Volteada de Yuca (con miel de cocona, granada y crujientes de yuca). Preste atención también a la Panceta de Cerdo, al Ramen de Setas y a las Alitas con Toronja. Dense una vuelta por Meliton Carbajal 399 en San Martin de Porres.

Carlos Estéban Sánchez Ramírez
Marketero irremediable, comunicador por vocación. La cocina es un arma social para la inclusión. Asesoro negocios culinarios.
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