5 minutes with Chef Alejandro Cancino

At just 33, Argentinean born Alejandro has captured the Australian dining scene with his dynamic and internationally trained palate. His worldwide experience, including in the world’s fourth ranked restaurant, Mugaritz, in Spain has served him well. His accolades include “Young Chef of the Year 2008” in the U.K. and one Michelin Star during his tenure at Bulgari Hotels, Tokyo.

Since his arrival in Australia, Alejandro has put all his experience and natural talent to excellent use and was honoured by Australian Gourmet Traveller Restaurant Awards for Best New Talent, in addition to being named Chef of the Year 2013 by The Good Food Guide, whilst retaining both 2-hats for Urbane and 1-hat for The Euro. Here he shares with Aspire Lifestyles his advice for new talent and his passion for vegan gastronomy.

Aspire Lifestyles: What would you recommend to a person who is just starting his career as a Chef?

Chef Cancino: I been told when I was 15 – this is a very hard profession; you will be working when everyone else is having a good time. Back then I didn’t care, I loved what I was doing and I was really focus and driven. I’m still in love with food and that’s never gonna change, but, I would recommend a new chef, who is just about to begin his career, to have a plan.

I mean this profession will give you lots of satisfaction, but it is not like cooking at home (cooking whenever you want, whatever you want, at your own pace). I would suggest, having other hobbies or activities and meeting people outside this Industry. Also make sure to have a plan for when you became older as this is a tough profession to be in for the rest of your life. I have massive respect for the ones who still in their 60’s and still cooking! I still feel young and full of energy, but age is not gonna make it any easier.

Aspire Lifestyles: What makes you happy as a Chef?

Chef Cancino: I started cooking, because I love eating good food. Even if I didn’t become a Chef, I think I would be a good home cook, just because I love it. I think happiness is the combination of these small details –

Each time I eat something tasty, that few seconds of pleasure sometimes are all you need, to see fresh produce that just arrived from a farmer I know well, finish a service where everything ran smoothly as it doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, it is a great feeling. I also get a rush when plating a new dish because I know is good, and seeing a young Chef finally be a strong and solid member of the team.

Aspire Lifestyles: Where do you see the next big trend in food?

Chef Cancino: I think in the near future, we will see more and more plant based foods on the menus as we start to realise the impact dairy and animal agriculture has on the planet, and how important our food choices are. Grains, legumes, seeds, nuts, fruits and vegetables are going to be used much more than animal products.

Aspire Lifestyles: Lastly, could you tell us where is your favourite place to go to in Australia on a rare day off?

Chef Cancino: That’s an easy one…definitely Sunshine Coast. It’s my happy place!

As a partner on the Aspire Lifestyles Global Preferred Program, all reservations enjoy priority seating, top of waitlist and a special Chef’s welcome.