Portrait: Even if PACO is particularly interested in the work  and personal experiences in the Caribbean , there are profiles that we want to highlight through the quality of their know-how. Let’s cross the Atlantic and meet Chef Miguel Rosa Astudillo of the Melia Hotel in Cape Verde!

Hello Miguel, could you give us a quick introduction of who you are and what steps have led you to this point in your creative life as a chef ? How did you get there?” What was your personal  path ?

My name is Miguel Rosa, 37 years old, I am an Executive Chef with over 20 years of experience in the Hotel and Restaurant Industry, with 4 Restaurant openings and 3 Hotel openings between Spain and Cape Verde in the last 10 years.

I started at the age of 15 years old washing dishes in a wedding venue, but my main career development began by working under the VIPS Group restaurant chain. I began from the bottom as a kitchen steward in 1998, moving through different positions until I received my first responsibility as a Chef in the kitchen at the age of 24 years old in 2004. In 2009 I was given the charge of working as the Executive Chef responsible for (I+D+I )  for all singular restaurants within the group, 11 outlets in total.

My journey in the hotel industry started with the opening of one of AR Golf Almerimar Resort from 2012 until 2014 in Spain.

From there I decided to go on a bigger adventure with the opening of 4 hotels under Melia Hotels International in Cape Verde in 2014. The opening of Melia Dunas, one of the biggest Melia hotels in the world, with 8 outlets and 1184 rooms in November 2014, followed by Sol Dunas in October 2016 and an two months later the simultaneous openings of the Melia Llana Beach Resort & Spa and TUI Sensimar Cabo Verde Beach Resort & Spa in December 2016 with 605 rooms  in total and 8 outlets and also the opening of the Bikini Beach Club at the end of December 2016 

Working with TUI SENSIMAR BRAND, I would like to point out that one of our biggest challenges was to manage the Food and Beverages standards as the concept behind this brand is to provide an exceptionally high level of food quality throughout all outlets, as the guests have very high expectations.

One of our star outlets is an Asian Teppanyaki outlet called Nami Restaurant, a concept created by the Gran Melia Brand by Melia Hotels International, was designed to position itself as the leading restaurant in the island of Sal. The chefs are constantly seeking to use the most cutting edge techniques, which means that innovation is always on the menu.

Finally, with such a diverse personal itinerary, do you have a particular culinary specialty or techniques that you prefer in your daily life ?

My main specialty is the Mediterranean Cuisine and International Cuisine in general such as Mexican, Asian, European and Latin America. I am an expert in management of outlets with large volumes of clients,  and also working with a large number of staff under my management, contributing to a unique gastronomic experience with a diverse choice in each one of its concepts. I am currently training and developing a team of staff with the aim of opening the new establishments in Cape Verde, namely the islands of Sal, Boa Vista, Praia and São Vicente, a mission which I enjoy very much.  My other strong points are development, negotiation and logistics of food products to the different regions of Cape Verde, 90% of the food products have to be imported from abroad, elaboration of I+D plan of the production and its implementation in each one of our outlets and the implementation of a Health and Safety plan in all outlets.

If you have to share an experience with our readers, a particular significant event that gave you great personal satisfaction, what would it be?

No specific one, all my life is an event !  I consider myself as an autodidact, I am passionate about learning new things each day without fear of making mistakes and having to start all over again until I get it right. This is my great pride.

I would not have been able to arrive at the point where I am now had it not been for the trust and support of all the wonderful people and team with whom my path has crossed and for this I am forever grateful. As a way of passing on what I have received and also because I truly like working with people who are equally passionate about cooking, I like to help them to develop their careers and to watch them grow and be successful at what they do best. Tourism in Cape Verde is quite recent, for me being part of this growing industry and training the local people who are new to this profession and seeing them rise to top management gives me much pride and satisfaction.  We are proud to currently work with two of the best hotels in Cape Verde, Meliá Llana and TUI Sensimar Cabo Verde, with 98% of our staff being Cape Verdean.

What is your favourite quote ?

 “The lack of success is a consequence of the fear to take risks.”

I am passionate about sharing ideas and sharing experiences. This is why I will regularly publish some of my recipes and tips in the pages of Pepitas And Co. And I invite all enthusiasts, whatever their field of activity to do the same !

Photos credit : Miguel Rosa Astudillo –  Video credit AR Golf Almerimar Resort : AR Golf Almerimar Resort –  Video credit Melia Dunas : Resort Worldwide Properties – video credit TUI Sensimar Cabo Verde Beach Resort & Spa : BroadcastExchange