WHAT DO YOU DO AND HOW DID YOU GET HERE?
I don’t really know anymore, I guess I make people eat, drink, and have fun.
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT EL BLOK - HOW DID YOU COME TO BE INVOLVED IN THE HOTEL?
A guy walked into my bar! Seriously though, I met the owner (Simon Baeyertz) when he arrived in Puerto Rico and we became best friends. He was still building El Blok and eventually I had to tell him that the burger at the beach concept wasn’t great, in return he made me get involved. It was the best decision for both of us...
EL BLOK IS CERTAINLY A DESIGN FORWARD HOTEL… HOW WAS THIS CONSIDERED IN THE CREATION OF THE RESTAURANT, MENU & EXPERIENCE?
As usual for me, the space comes ﬁrst - so it shaped what I wanted to do food-wise. Ultimately, the menu reﬂects and in turn helps creates the feeling of the hotel.
WAS HOSPITALITY SOMETHING YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO DO? WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE GROWING UP?
Hospitality has always been in my family and I’m still thinking about what to be. Or perhaps just waiting to grow up.
WHO OR WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST INSPIRATION IN THE INDUSTRY?
Marco Pierre White for his attitude. And really my day to day life is my greatest inspiration!
DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE HOTEL IN THE WORLD?
Well, I love The Gallery Inn in San Juan, it was always my getaway for a staycation. Hard question...whenever I travel it’s a different vibe. I like the Bowery in New York and I just got to stay at Golden Eye in Jamaica - that’s a new favorite.
A CULINARY EXPERIENCE CAN MAKE OR BREAK A TRIP - ANY MEMORABLE EXPERIENCES IN YOUR TRAVELS?
It’s true, like Brooklyn Fare and Maison Premiere make the trip to Brooklyn worthwhile, haha. But really memorable experiences are those that you don’t expect at all. If you expect something to be great and it is, it’s not as memorable as when you don’t expect anything! Wandering alone in Bogota, hungover, hungry and I walk into a local restaurant and have an amazing Ajiaco soup - that’s memorable!
WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHANGE YOU'VE SEEN IN THE INDUSTRY?
With the rise of foodie and chef culture somehow we’ve lost the right to party!
IF YOU COULD COOK FOR ANYONE, DEAD OR ALIVE, WHO WOULD IT BE?
Well, they’re not dead or alive but I’ld die to cook for Talking Heads and if ever there had been a chance Ismael Rivera ( Puerto Rican musician, singer, writer).
WHAT WILL YOU BE DOING TEN YEARS FROM NOW?