Flash-grilled: Vitelio Reyes

By Joe Lutrario

- Last updated on GMT

Vitelio Reyes executive chef Amazonico

Related tags Vitelio Reyes Chefs Amazonico

The Venezuelan-born executive chef of Mayfair's Amazonico on his love of Daniel Humm and his dislike for bananas.

What was your first industry job?

I worked as a kitchen assistant in Venezuela and I peeled around 15kg of prawns every day.

If you weren’t in kitchens, what would you do?

I don’t see myself anywhere else. I love what I do too much; despite the lack of sleep and all the challenges, I am very happy every morning to go to work.

What industry figure do you most admire, and why?

Daniel Humm is one of the most inspiring chefs that I have ever met. Also, the way that Anthony Bourdain showed the world through food was absolutely stunning.

Pet hate in the kitchen?
When people damage the cling film rolls, it really gets on my nerves. 

What’s the oddest thing a customer has said to you?

On multiple occasions, I have been asked to cook a tuna tartare…

Sum up your cooking style in a single sentence…

My cooking is inspired by nature and simplicity and reflects my childhood through the flavours that I use at Amazonico.

What’s the worst review you’ve ever had?

Someone once complained that my food was bland.

What advice would you give someone starting out in the industry?

Be patient, be eager, be passionate and never lose that flame.

Which single item of kitchen equipment could you not live without?
My knives and my fish spatula. 

What would you choose to eat for your last meal?

It would be a tough choice between the tasting menu that I once had at Plaza Athénée, by Alain Ducasse, or my favourite restaurant and one of the restaurants that I knew the most throughout my career, Da Vittorio in Bergamo.

À la carte or tasting menu?

I really love a tasting menu because you have the opportunity to see where the inspiration of the chef is coming from and understand all his senses and his own perspective.

What’s the best meal you’ve ever had in a restaurant?

Eleven Madison Park in New York.

Most overrated food?

I don't like bananas, so anything bananas is overrated to me. 

Who would your dream dinner party guests be?

I would like to be surrounded by the people that I love. I love to cook for those who I love and to see those people enjoying my food is the best gift.

Where do you go when you want to let your hair down?

To the seaside, wherever it is!

What do you consider your signature dish?

The Amazonico salad; it is something that kicks all the notes of flavour and freshness and it is so simple and delicious that you do not need to do too much to it.

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