Growing up in my grandmother's house as a child, sitting in the kitchen with the cooks, and her home-style cooking.
What's the most challenging part of your job?
Having so many restaurants around the world comes with the challenge of constantly travelling and being away from my family.
Do you have a personal mantra or motto that drives the way you cook?
I like to say 'old ways and new hands' - basically, what I mean is that I have taken all my childhood memories of food and recipes and transformed them after my culinary training. So, it's classic home-style cooking in new ways.
If you could cook for a high-profile personality, who would it be and what would you serve them?
I would love to cook for Shakira and serve her ceviche - specifically Aji Amarillo, my favourite one.
How often do you eat out?
I eat out almost every day of my life, thanks to my travel schedule - but because of this, when I am home, I tend not to go out to restaurants.
After cooking all day, do you cook for yourself at home too?
Yes, I love to cook at home. I built myself an outdoor kitchen and grill, as I like to cook simple food at home.
You're asked to invent an unusual dish - what would it be?
In the Mayan culture in Mexico, people tend to cook with a lot of ants. Once, I decided to make guacamole with crispy grasshoppers - and it tasted like popcorn.
Who do you admire most in the culinary world, and why?
Nobu Matsuhisa - he has inspired me the most and was one of the first chefs that fused Latin with Asian cuisine.
Favourite comfort food?
One word: tacos.
One ingredient/ dish you can't stand, and why.
It's not that I can't stand it, but I think truffle oil is overrated and overdone.
If you could choose a last meal, what would it be?
It would be Tacos Al Pastor for sure, which is a classic taco dish in Mexico, made of marinated meat with chillies, grilled pineapples, and cilantro.
Your favourite culinary destination, and why?
I think it's changed over the years, but New York has always been one of my favourites. Currently, I love San Francisco. The world is moving towards organic food and all the chefs in San Francisco are cooking with local ingredients and keeping up with the trend.
- Staff reporter
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