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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Fernando Trocca on his new restaurant in New York: “I have no hope of seeing a change in Argentina”

The soul of the place is a counter, one of those large wooden pieces of furniture that has the aroma of old Argentine businesses, perhaps neighborhood delicatessens or general stores in town where food is presented and served to customers face-to-face. , With the warmth of old friends. A simple counter, yes, but with the glamorous stamp of Manhattan.

Leading this concept of simple, familiar, fresh and visible preparations Fernando TrocaArgentine chef Founder of Sucre Restaurant who left the country after the pandemic to become a Global Chef.

At the age of 55, Troka learned her craft with her grandmother, Serafina, and channeled her passion during her childhood into cooking for her family and friends. Later He visited the kitchens of teachers such as Gato Dumas and Francis Mallmann and continued his training in Italy, France, Spain and the United States until he In 2001 he opened Sucre, the flagship that later took him to unexpected markets.

Fernando Trocca’s restaurants around the world

Fernando Trocca In Fake New York.

Fernando Trocca in Fake New York.

is that the pandemic threw Trokka’s life into disarray: After months of being locked in his house and killing time with his cooking videos on Instagram, he decided to bet on Argentina and beyond There was a huge explosion with his seal.

Within a few years, he partnered with investors to set up restaurants in London, Dubai and Miami, and his “to oppose” –New concept where the sideboard is the hero– It already has offices in Montauk, the city of Buenos Aires, Uruguay, London and the exclusive New York Hamptons.

But now Cook goes for more: looks to conquer Manhattan with a new location in the Tribeca neighborhood right next to SoHo. There today he is seen behind the counter serving diners, serving suppliers, and conversing with customers who recognize him. He oversees every detail of the restaurant which opened a few weeks back and is already packed with customers.

amid the afternoon hustle and bustle, sweet pumpkin salad with caramelized tomatoes and onions; beetroot with pear, pecorino and balsamic or kale, anchovy and Parma cheese; Argentinian croissants and coconut flakes, Troika welcomes Clarins to its brand new New York location.

This Is New York Showcase.

This is New York Showcase.

– What is the concept of location?

A counter where food is collected at lunchtime, where food is placed in front of people and they select the salad options and proteins they are going to accompany them with. It’s a simple, fresh, natural and easy concept. But more important than the food itself is the pastry we make. here in new york We make 22 types of pastries daily.

Why did you decide to open in Manhattan?

—because it is one of the great capitals of the world, if not the number one in the world. This is a big challenge. In 1997, I stayed here for three and a half years. The truth was that the opportunity had come and why not?

-Being a global chef, how do you adapt to the culture or clientele of each location?

-Can we offer in New York or London? We can offer on the beach or in Buenos Aires. “Desk” is the most international, which needs to be adapted the least. Instead, Sucre in London and Dubai do. In Dubai you have to adapt. There are things we don’t, eg no pork is served, the menu is a bit more extensive.

Fernando Trocca In Fake New York.

Fernando Trocca in Fake New York.

-What differences do you find between working in Argentina and in other countries?

I’m not going to talk about politics or situations, but there are so many differences, there’s no point in comparing. A restaurant is still a restaurant, and we continue to provide food and service to people as we work in the hospitality industry, but each place has its pros and cons.

Argentina today is a difficult place to project, build projects and think about the future, We know that we are a country that goes up and down and although we are in a particular moment in the world, this is what I do and this is what I love and I continue to do it, regardless of the state of the world and the situation that each country has.

How has the pandemic affected you personally and in your business?

In business, bad, like everyone else. really, We had a restaurant that was “Orilla” in Buenos Aires that we just closed. In the pandemic we had to adjust and disguise ourselves as best we could and survive. But after the pandemic it was very difficult and we were closed.

-And in the rest of the world?

-The “Orilla” in Miami survived and is doing great. We begin post-pandemic in London and Dubai. Personally, I tried to make the best out of a complex and very difficult situation for everyone involved. I did a lot to survive, but like everyone else in Argentina, I was locked in my house.

New York Counter Team.

New York Counter Team.

Without thinking, I started making a few videos of a recipe for chicken salad with a chicken I had left over and something unexpected happened.

-What happened?

– We were at my house with my girlfriend and our daughter and I was in my pajamas, I hadn’t even changed clothes. I made a salad with leftover chicken from the night before and posted it on Instagram. The response from people was so amazing that I decided to make another video.

In this way I made 90 dishes every day for 90 days. Every day I uploaded a recipe on Instagram and it helped me. And then he ended up in a book “Troca en casa”. I think that was the most important thing that the pandemic gave me.

You lived on your savings during the pandemic.

-Yes. I arrived in England to open Sucre with $2,000 in my bank account, that was all I had left., This was in May last year. I literally spent everything. In a year I was ready again.

Do you find yourself in crises again?

-what if, We are Argentines, we reinvent ourselves in crises. We are the experts. Something happened which I could never have imagined in my life. We opened three restaurants in less than six months: one in London, one in Dubai and one in Buenos Aires. And I took out a book. I only had London in my plans, but during the pandemic it was a project that came out and didn’t come out. And all this and more came out.

Croissants From The New York Counter.

Croissants from the New York counter.

You spent your time on television with your cooking shows. Now have a wave with MasterChef. What does TV give to a chef apart from fame?

-depends on. They called me for MasterChef and I didn’t want to do it because I don’t feel comfortable playing a character on television. I did television for many years because I was lucky enough to do the shows I wanted to do, cooking shows.

But my career was never television. Television or not, but that wasn’t going to change my life. The most beautiful thing about television is when people give you what you give them. when it is a round trip. But for the many years I did television, it was always difficult for me because I am not someone who feels comfortable in front of the camera.

– are you shy?

-Yes. You should have a field to see a camera, start talking and many more in a MasterChef which is a show. This is not a cooking show. You don’t cook One is bad, the other is good and you have to follow some guidelines. I was not there for him.

-How would you describe a London diner, an Argentinian, an American? Do you have different demands?

-Argentinians and Uruguayans are very similar. We are brothers and there is no difference between us. The British and the Americans have a lot in common. They are open, more open than us, despite the fact that the Argentine public today is much more open to try and eat.

London and New York are two very cosmopolitan cities where people are very used to eating food from all over the world. Either way I’ll tell you it’s an easy specter.

New York Counter Cuisine.

New York Counter Cuisine.

We’re in Montauk, where we have the concept of a “counter”, we’re inside a hotel that’s on the beach and we have to maintain some rules and permissions: we can’t use dishes. We can only use disposables, glasses, plates and cutlery, everything. And it’s a very expensive place. The only people who criticize us for this are Argentina. Americans don’t complain about anything, they line up, wait and pay.

-What is your criteria for choosing a city for a restaurant? Why didn’t you set one up, for example, in Paris, the gastronomic capital of the world?

There’s a reason for everything. The London and Dubai projects are not projects that I have done alone. I could not put together these projects just because of their investment, development and infrastructure. I worked for 8 years in England for a very large company, which was Gaucho’s, an Argentinian restaurant with a non-Argentine owner.

He was someone from whom I learned and continue to learn. A guy who has a lot of business vision that I don’t have. But he and I are a good complement. Dubai and London are projects that I did with him. He lives in Dubai and has a huge company.

New York Counter Flan.

New York Counter Flan.

-How is the investment process?

Mostradore In London and New York they came to us, not we to them. In London, an opportunity appeared for a restaurant inside a hotel. He offered us to take that place and do something. We thought it was great to have the counter concept in that neighborhood of London (Shorditch).

The same happened in New York. There was a very small restaurant here. We know the owner of this hotel and now he is our partner at the counter. When that restaurant was on the left, he suggested that we set up another restaurant.

-The labor market, especially in the gastronomic sector, is complex in the United States, where unemployment is very low. Staff is hard to find. Is this a problem for you? Does this happen to you in other places?

This happens all over the world. It happens in Argentina, here, in London. This is happening all over the world and this is the result of the pandemic.

-But why do you think there is no worker in Argentina when there is high unemployment?

This is a very good question that I cannot answer. Lack of trained people, low commitment And I’m not talking about Argentina, but I’m talking about everybody. This is a problem that arose after the pandemic and is 100% global. And this is happening in all sectors. Suppliers make delivery difficult because they do not have drivers to deliver.

Fernando Trocca At New York Counter.

Fernando Trocca at New York Counter.

-And in the gastronomic sector, where do you see the biggest problems?

everywhere. You don’t get waiters, you don’t have cooks or pastry chefs. You start doing interviews and they come for one and for the other two interviews they no longer come. They start working one day and after a while they tell you they don’t want to work anymore and they leave. This is a very serious problem.

I think everything that happened has to do with the pandemic. Many people want to live differently and many do not want to commit. People who have decided to move away from big capitals and cities and want a different lifestyle.

-How does a chef ensure a future? because it’s a very physical job, Connected to very personal and financial ups and downs.

I don’t make my future. I don’t think about the future anymore. We learned not to think about the future because the future does not exist. If we want to think about the future, tomorrow a pandemic will strike us and turn us around. What this pandemic has sealed for me is that we cannot plan too much. Today I enjoy my present.

Are you planning to expand further?

– Yes, absolutely anywhere.

Would you bet on Argentina again?

not today because At the age I am now, I do not expect to see change in Argentina. Hopefully one day it will come, I’m not going to see it.

see also

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