To truly understand the philosophy of a restaurant, one must truly understand the mind of its Chef. In the modern culture we exist in, the culinary profession has evolved from an ordinary occupation into a respected art form. This evolution means that often the greatest moments in our lives our specifically placed in the confines of our favorite restaurants.
Born in Santander Spain, Luis Gonzalez found an affinity for cooking at a very early age. Through an innate desire to cook he began to prepare food for his family throughout the years and thoroughly enjoyed doing so. When he reached his maturity, he expressed his desire to cook professionally, which his family strongly disagreed with due to the fact that the culinary profession was not as highly regarded as it is now. Following the behest of his elders, Jose Luis enrolled in a university where he studied Business Management and Marketing. Following his graduation he opened up his own business. Taking his earnings from his business, he enrolled and paid for his culinary education and degree from Artxanda, Bilbao. From that schooling his career started to skyrocket to unimaginable proportions.
During the first two years of his college career Chef Luis spent his summers working in a hotel and finished his college culinary practice in the Michelin star restaurant Andra Mari. After graduation he was rewarded with a position with the world-renowned restaurant Arzak, in San Sebastian. Instantly acknowledged for his inherent talents, he was assigned to the Arzak Laboratory where he developed and facilitated upcoming menus and conceptions. During his time at Arzak, his compulsion for fine cuisine increased and he pursued and strived for more knowledge.
Following his time at Arzak, he continued his career at the legendary restaurant Mugaritz where he was Chef de Partie of fish as well as also working behind the scenes in the laboratory. Luis depicts his time at Mugaritz as the most influential time in his career as he fell in love with the philosophy of the Mugaritz kitchen.
Due to the good friendship of Arzak Chef Juan Mari Arzak and Ferran Adria, Chef of El Bulli, he transferred to El Bulli, the number one restaurant in the world at that time. He was 1 of 35 chefs accepted, amongst 80, 000 applicants. After finishing a season at El Bulli, he decided to take a tour of restaurants in southern France where had the privilege of experiencing Brass. After his tour of Southern France he spent a few months at yet another world famous location, Cellar de Can Roca before obtaining a position at the Nerua restaurant at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, a part of the Mugaritz company. He started as Chef de Partie of meats, then pastries and starters, and then became head Chef of events and catering as well as Sous Chef for the fine dining and gastronomy restaurant. Jose Luis describes this time in his career as a very important step in his culinary education. Nerua-Guggenheim shared a similar philosophy with Noma and it’s concept of the kitchen. At that time Jose Luis was able to intern with Noma to experience their new technologies and concepts of cooking.
After almost 3 years at Guggenheim, Luis moved to the Philippines to occupy the position of Chef de Cuisine for the luxury hotels Sofitel and Shangri-La where his culinary skills were utilized to run multiple kitchens and increase the food quality of both establishments.
Influenced by traveling to all the far reaches of Asia (Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, etc) Chef Luis Gonzalez strives to find new flavors, ingredients, and most importantly different ways to understand food. This has helped him create a distinctive awareness of how to combine modern techniques with an Asian perspective. From the traditional to the most modern and sophisticated Chef Luis takes the best of both worlds and combines them in his own unique way. Using the knowledge obtained from working in some of the best restaurants in the world and his many Asian culinary trips he creates his own personal world; a world that delivers an exeptional culinary experience at VASK.
“THE KITCHEN IS PASSION AND LOVE. IN SOME WAYS I NEED TO COOK TO LIVE. I DON’T UNDERSTAND LIFE WITHOUT COOKING. I DON’T SEE MYSELF IN ANY OTHER JOB.”
– CHEF J. LUIS GONZALEZ