On her whistle-stop visit to Doha, FACT spoke to Dominican Chef María Marte, the only woman in Spain and Latin America to date to achieve two Michelin stars. We chatted about her achievements, Dominican cuisine and what she aspires to explore in the culinary world.

With expertise in Spanish cuisine, personal Dominican heritage and a penchant for cooking and gastronomy, Chef María Marte’s food is unique and creative, bursting with exquisite flavours. On one hand, it is contemporary and cutting edge and on the other, deeply inspired by her roots — giving you the best of both worlds. Born in 1976 in Jarabacoa, Dominican Republic, to a pastry-chef mother and a restaurant-owner father, María was destined to develop a love for cooking..

We caught up with her as she was here at Alwadi Doha – MGallery Hotel Collection for an exclusive pop-up menu, featuring her acclaimed dishes, including Yucca Cupcake; Crispy Langoustines with avocado and coriander gazpacho; Seasonal Fish in coconut sauce as well as chocolate cream. After the dishes were cleared, María sat down for a chat with FACT.

You’re the only female chef in Madrid with two Michelin stars, what do you make of this unique distinction? Did this apply pressure on you moving forward?
Being the only woman in Madrid with Michelin stars is a big commitment, more than a pride for me, I feel more committed to what I do every day. I achieved a lot in a very short time, this is still a great challenge for my career.

What’s that one ingredient that makes Spanish/Mediterranean cuisine outstanding and affects the entire flavour?
I always think that the main ingredient in Spanish gastronomy is olive oil, the green gold as they call it.

What is the process like in developing a menu? Can you share with us your signature dish or style and what makes it special to you?
When creating a tasting menu we must first focus on the main ingredient, inspiration can be found in many ways, but I still think that the kitchen is a magical place to create. My signature dish is the famous hibiscus flavours, it was my first creation in haute cuisine.

Is there something in the food world you are looking to explore or learn about?
We never stop exploring and learning, especially when we are talking about avant-garde cuisine, we are always looking, researching about new flavours and products to continue creating. ✤