A few years ago, Rodrigo de la Calle, the superstar chef from Aranjuez, launched two ventures in China, Verde and Carmen, two restaurants specializing in vegetables and tapas and rice, respectively.
Slightly more than a year ago he teamed up with several business partners to open Puerta 20, in Beijing, which serves traditional cuisine with a modern twist. Now the chef has opened a second Puerta 20 outpost, this time on the outskirts of the city. The food is a little more sophisticated, and the focus is on grilled foods, using a mix of grills inspired in the Basque Country.
And De la Calle has yet another project in the works. The chef is planning to open a version of the El Invernadero (The Greenhouse) restaurant, in Collado Mediano (Madrid), in the old quarter of Beijing. As the chef himself admits, “This is a very ambitious project, and it may very well be most ‘gastrobotanical’ restaurant in Asia!”
The truth is that Chinese consumers have been very receptive to De la Calle’s cuisine, because people eat lots of vegetables in China, and not for health reasons, but because they genuinely like them. That makes the Asian Giant the perfect market for a chef like De la Calle, whose “green cuisine” is set to triumph.
The chef’s “gastrobotanical” approach to cooking has been very well-received by Chinese consumers