The adventurous spirit of chef Alberto Collarte has led him to navigate, fly and drive the Baja peninsula. He willingly confesses his love for a land he describes as a very, very mystical place!
“When I arrived on the peninsula, I was like ‘Wow!’ We Chileans are not the only ones with the wealth of the sea. Here, it is, well, infinite. However, you have to take care of it. On top of that, the products from the earth are also excellent and if you look to the south or north of the peninsula, there is an entire world to choose from.”
When I needed music while driving the peninsula, I would listen to Riders on the Storm by The Doors, recorded in 1971.
A perfect vacation in Baja California Sur for Chef Collarte would be on his own boat or in a 4×4 vehicle. A total adventure!
“Sailing the Sea of Cortez would be fascinating. You still find places that are not populated. The contrast of the sea and desert is seductive. I think a journey of 80 percent by boat and 20 percent on land would be a real adventure. I would like to explore the mountains, cave paintings, you know, go wild.”
Even as a child, the tastes of different foods captured Alberto’s attention. An interest in cooking soon followed. Vegetables are especially interesting and a very important part of his dishes.
“It’s funny, I was a picky eater as a child. Food had to get my attention with the first bite. I always had problems with vegetables. If they were dark or over cooked, I didn’t want them. I was very attentive to color. My dad began teaching me how to cook. It was very fun to prepare something that people would eat and tell me, ‘Hey, it’s good!’ I felt that I was giving them something that I did on my own.”
Alberto enjoys every moment in the kitchen but when he has free time, he likes to travel, discover new places and snowboard, wave board, fish, dive, and play tennis and basketball. He likes to stay active with friends!
“I have gone diving with sharks. My best diving experience was in Revillagigedo. There were giant stingrays, all kinds of sharks, but more than that, I found it fascinating to dive with tuna and wahoo.”
Alberto Collarte is a chef we often see sharing his cuisine with other chefs and participating in culinary events. His first motivation is to have a good time. Second is the mutual learning that improves the gastronomic quality of Los Cabos.
“I believe there is strength in unity and to divide is to weaken. When you work with others, you make progress. If we want the quality of cooking in Los Cabos to get better and become an international standard, we need everyone to grow at the same time. I think we have achieved our goal in a certain way because we are attracting attention. Renowned chefs are coming to open restaurants or work in hotels.”
Events he has participated on:
• Paella Festival
• Culinary Awards
• Sabor a Cabo
For him, inspiration is something spontaneous. Many times, he gets ideas in unexpected places like the car. He writes his ideas down to explore and develop later. Alberto has turned his notes into the first edition of Cook Out.
“The Cook Out series is a way to invite locals to get to know the cuisine within the beautiful environment of Land’s End in the Grand Solmar. We meet with friends to cook and there is always a theme: meat, Italian, regional products. The flexibility is attractive. The next event is in March 2020 and I would like to make Cabo San Lucas Street Food.”
“This year brings new challenges. There is a project soon with the Gourmet Channel. I am also in charge of a corporate branch that includes the bakery, pastry shop, butcher shop and the tortilla factory. It is a major responsibility within the organization.”
Favorite dish for a meeting with friends:
A delicious ceviche or anything grilled, such as a good sirloin, gizzards or sweetbread.
Utensil that can always be found in his kitchen:
Number one is a knife, then I always have scissors and my oyster opener.
“My happy dish is a poor style steak, a Chilean classic. It’s a steak grilled to perfection, an egg on top, with French fries and caramelized onions. The protein can be exchanged for a fried fish. ‘Poor style’ means with French fries, egg and caramelized onion.”