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Discover all our Chefs
Relais & Châteaux Chef

Emilio Dalmau

Chef - Relais & Châteaux

Emilio Dalmau
Casa Gangotena
Member Relais & Châteaux from 2019
Bolivar Oe6-41 y Cuenca
170401 Quito


Casa Gangotena


Casa Gangotena

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Story of a Chef

How did you become a Chef?

I was always drawn to expressing my creativity through cooking and creating experiences for people through my cuisine. My dad always cooked at home, so my desire to become a chef dawned early in my childhood. The road has been a long and winding one, taking me to many places, hotels, restaurants, and cities. There is still much for me to learn, but I can say that thus far, each place has strongly influenced me as a person and as a cook. 


How would you define your cuisine?

My cuisine is modern and ever-evolving. I lived in Spain for a number of years, where I was influenced by Mediterranean cooking, which I like to mix with my Ecuadorian roots. This meeting of cultures and fusion of techniques and products has led to some interesting outcomes.

What are your favorites products and criteria for choosing?

I love seafood; the fresher, the better. I always want to know where products come from and ensure that they are sustainably sourced. To give some examples, we purchase our seafood from artisanal fishermen in the Manabi and Esmeraldas provinces of Ecuador, we get our spices and herbs from the small shops around Casa Gangotena, and we have our ceramic plates made by local craftspeople. Ecuador is a nation of rich diversity throughout its regions, so I have no trouble continually finding surprising new products and providers.

What is your signature?

I want my cuisine to reflect my personality and I always inject life, color, and texture into my dishes. I have a positive personality, and this is reflected in what I cook. 

What professions surround you and what would you like to pass on to them?

In my view, this profession is all about perseverance and the passion that drives you daily. It’s about humility; being aware that you never know too much and that there is always more to learn. To be a successful chef you need to keep an open mind, withstand long and physically demanding shifts, and learn to find pleasure in it all. Because I do these things, my team is inspired by my leadership and positive attitude.

Do you have a Chef’s tip for Sunday cooking?

Take some fresh shrimp and cook in water with laurel and white onion. Let the shrimp cool and then marinade in the cooking liquid. Add the juice of four lemons, two oranges, and one tangerine, throw in some tomato concassé, some red onion cut up into small cubes, avocado cut into thin sheets, and top with chopped cilantro. This makes for a delicious lunchtime ceviche, which may be eaten with fried green plantain chips.