We catch up with Chef Enrique Limardo and get his take on the future of the industry
1. Can you tell us about your current role?
I'm the executive chef at "Alma Cocina Latina" located in Baltimore, Maryland, award as the best chef of the city in 2016 by the "Baltimore Magazine", 3.5 stars of 4 from the "Washington post Magazine" and the best Latin Restaurant in Baltimore for several years, also I'm the Culinary Director of the fast casual concept restaurant "Chicken & Whiskey" located in 14 th street in Washington DC, award as the best Rotisserie chicken place in the area of Washington, among the top ten casual restaurants in 2017-2018 , among other achievements.
I'm executive chef and partner of my newest restaurant that will be open early spring next year called "Seven Reasons". I design and make all the menu engineering for those concepts plus give a culinary advise for a group of restaurants in the Washington D.C., Virginia area.
2. What has been some of the highlights of this position?
Between all my business and restaurants my life is a little busy, because my main frame is to keep things together showing care, love and passion in the details, service and of course the quality of the food have to be as high as possible.
I have to say that I never complain from been very busy because I love what I do and the people around me is like my family and without them it would be impossible.
One the most important things in my restaurants is to be reachable as much people as possible giving opportunities from the fine dining experience to street food.
3. Can you tell us a bit about your career before this current position?
In studied architecture from 1992-1996, history of art, industrial design and graphic design at the same time I worked in restaurants as a kitchen assistant for four years to maintain my self. Then I decide to give a chance to my real passion "cook", and I move from Venezuela to Spain to study culinary arts in San Sebastián, Basque Country at "Luis Irizar School" , after that I moved to Barcelona Spain to continue studying culinary arts in San Pol de Mar at "EUHT San Pol de Mar" here I finished my post-graduate level in culinary arts, then I started to work for about 5 years from Hotels to 3 Michelin starred restaurants in around Spain been from line cook to sous chef. Then I decide to move again and I was living and working in Cancun Mexico in "Bahia Principe Hotels" as a executive Sous chef, then I moved again to Barbados to study English and I use the opportunity to work in the best restaurant in the island "The cliff", there I work along the chef PaulOwens give him culinary advise in modern cooking techniques.
Finally I move again to my country "Venezuela" and I decide to open my own restaurant been chef and partner in Caracas city with my wife, so finally after 5 years we open two restaurants in Caracas, unfortunately because the economical and political situation in Venezuela we were force to sell and I found a job as a private chef for one of the richest families in South America, I work for then and travel around the entire planet cooking and living in places like Hong Kong, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Italy, France, the entire Caribbean and South America, so that gave me such a great experience and knowledge about products techniques, people and connections.
Finally I got tired to move from one place to another in different countries so I decided to move to US and the rest is history.
4. What do you see as the biggest challenges facing the industry at the moment?
The biggest challenge for the industry is to be involved with nonprofit organizations that support hungry around the world, as we are people related to all kind of food we have to be aware of it, and cook keeping in my "no waste".
5. What do you see as a possible solution to the growing shortage of chefs?
I don't see that at all, is the other way around because today many people, young people see this career as trend and a easy way to travel around the globe and make some money.