Edgar Hurtado, Executive Chef at IKA – Aleph Doha Residences, Curio Collection By Hilton, Doha – chats with FACT about what drives his inspiration and how he finds flavours that elevate his dishes to stand out from the crowd.

Do you remember the first time you prepared something in the kitchen and knew this was your calling?
Well, I don’t know if it was my first call that made me become a chef, but I remember that I cooked with my grandmother from a very young age. She had a small restaurant and I always used to help her. I loved the aromas and different dishes that paraded in front of me. I used to help her with basic things like making cookies or croquettes. Sharing that moment with her was magical, and I think that is what I like most about the kitchen, the union, the family spirit, the integration and, of course, the flavours.

With South American cuisine becoming more prevalent throughout the industry, where do you find flavour inspiration to elevate your dishes and make them stand out? Define your flavour process.
I believe a lot in the fusion of cuisines. When I create a dish, I play a lot with textures and flavours. I want to create an experience on the palate of my guests, an explosion of flavours in a bite. In Latin American cuisine, there is a lot of this and there is a lot of diversity of products and different cultures. In Peru, we have a lot of Asian, European and African influences that make our cuisine unique, with a lot of flavour and technique.

Can you share your signature dish or style with us, and what makes it special to you?
One of my favourite dishes is ceviche. As a good Peruvian, I always look for a way to create new ceviche. It is an impressive combination of flavours, acidity, sweetness, spiciness and freshness that makes this a flagship dish.

What is that one ingredient that makes South American an outstanding cuisine and devises the entire flavour?
Several products make our food so unique and delicious in Latin America, but I will highlight two.
The first would be the Pacific Ocean and its marine richness. The marine diversity we have is incredible, it is a luxury for all chefs. The second would be our agriculture. We have an infinite variety of vegetables, including our chillis, with many flavours. However, the most important thing is to cook with passion respecting your roots and products. ✤