Chef Allan Pilarte Gonzalez is a man of many talents and a man of few words. Recently, we had the opportunity to interview Chef Pilarte and discovered just how remarkable of a man he really is.
To start things off, we had Chef Pilarte provide us with a copy of his vitae so that we had a direction for our questions and weren’t just badgering a busy chef. To say that we were unprepared for what we received is an understatement. Chef Pilarte has seemingly done everything there is to do in a kitchen. While he has worked as an Executive Chef at some of the top resorts and hotels in the world for the last ten years, he also has experience dating back to 1995 working as a line cook and a store manager. Perhaps the most striking aspect of reviewing his vitae was the diversity of his education and how that has influenced his work ethic. Chef Pilarte graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in 1994, and then returned to school for a specialty degree in hotel management. Chef Pilarte is not content simply to create beautiful plates -- he is also deeply interested in managing the staff at his restaurant, and he somehow makes time to excel at both.
After being thoroughly intimidated by his vitae, it was time to make sense of it and speak to Chef Pilarte directly. The impression I had of Chef Pilarte as a man who is constantly moving and constantly driven to work was completely accurate, but Chef Pilarte is, above all else, humble and contemplative. When asked about his values in the kitchen, he did not immediately begin discussing cuisine or technique, he talked about the people he worked with. He remarked that cooking is a collaborative effort and that he values the opinions of his team as it is only through cooperation that the kitchen will achieve its goals. He takes this answer one step further and relates that his belief in commitment and responsibility extends to all aspects of his life. He values his family above all else and knows that his dedication at work directly translates to his commitment to his children and his wife. His greatest goal in life is to pass his commitment to hard work on to his children.
Remarkably, he spent the least amount of time discussing food and his philosophies regarding plate composition and flavor profiles. For someone who has such strong beliefs about his work ethic, he takes an almost zen-like approach to cuisine. Chef Pilarte told us that he believes life is always changing and that the kitchen can’t be far behind. As a result, a good chef must be prepared to evolve and be able to integrate new flavors into traditional cuisines, as the state of global cuisine is always in flux. He takes this one step further and relates that a chef must use a combination of flavor, color, and presentation to create a complete experience, much like a painter would do on a canvas. He also loves using local Dominican ingredients in a gourmet setting, ingredients which he notes would be considered exotic almost anywhere else in the world.
I get the impression that Chef Pilarte would not want me to get bogged down with the details of his resume or any of the accolades he has received, so I will close as simply as I can. Chef Pilarte works hard in all aspects of his life, and his passion for life and food is evident in everything that he does. You can taste his passion and enjoy a lovely dinner at Playa Blanca Restaurant as well as the Westin Puntacana Resort & Club.
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