Masters of Cuisine: Chef Oscar Ordonez
Masters of Cuisine
Chef Oscar Ordonez
607 King Street
Old Town Alexandria
Chef Oscar presents the popular Spanish Gambas al Ajillo – Fresh prawns, fresh garlic, olive oil, dried Guindilla peppers & fresh parsley.
Chef Oscar began his education in Honduras, assisting the Instituto Nacional de Formacion Profesional in his home town. His curiosity brought him to the United States where he started his culinary career like so many others, as a dishwasher. After years working as a dishwasher he was promoted to line cook by Chef Josu Zubikarai. Oscar worked under Chef Josu’s wing and in 2013 Chef Josu, La Tasca’s corporate chef, helped Oscar join the Carlos Rosario culinary academy in Washington DC. Oscar spent days studying at the culinary academy and evenings working at La Tasca DC. After two years he graduated and was promoted to Executive Chef at La Tasca DC. Oscar made the move to La Tasca Alexandria in late 2016. Oscar continues his education as a chef, just this year he enrolled at L’academie de Cuisine.
What inspired you to pursue a career in the culinary field?
I have been cooking since I can remember. I was always helping in my family restaurant, knowing that someday I wanted to become a chef. Since a very young age, I felt the call to the culinary arts and have never stopped learning and studying. The main reason I came to the United States, was the opportunity to pursue my passion.
Who or what has made the biggest influence on you during your career?
My mother and grandmother were my first influences in cooking, they taught me how to work with flavors and the importance of the basics. As I grew, my own passion for cooking and desire to learn more, I found Gaston Acurio to be a big influence, and part of the reason I chose to make the leap and move to America. Chef Josu Zubikarai has become my mentor here in the US.
What is your “personal favorite” dish on your menu and why?
Gambas al Ajillo. It’s one of the simplest recipes on our menu but it translates perfectly what Spanish gastronomy is all about. Always cooking the highest quality items helps us bring out the most natural flavor of the ingredients. Simple, natural and flavorful, these are the foundations of Spanish cooking.
What do you feel sets your cuisine apart from others in your field?
The understanding of the cuisine, our passion for using the highest quality, seasonal ingredients, and classic techniques. These together create authentic, down to earth Spanish cooking.
If any chef in the world (past or present) could prepare you a meal, who would you want that to be?
Juan Mari Arzak. He is a well-renowned Spanish chef from San Sebastian and an expert in classic flavors and techniques.
What is your guilty food pleasure?
Tacos. Who doesn’t enjoy some authentic, juicy tacos?
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