Valentin De La Hera from the Melia Galgos hotel, acclaimed winner of the 2nd international chefs meeting in Uruguay

June 23, 2007 (PRLEAP.COM) Travel News
Valentín de la Hera, well-known Spanish chef, who heads the Melía Galgos Hotel (Madrid) kitchens, has just finished winner of the second International Chefs Meeting held on the 10th and 11th of February, at the Conrad Resort Punta del Este (Uruguay). This is the first time ever that foreign chefs attend the meeting. Valentín de la Hera has been appointed Uruguay Beef Ambassador Abroad by Uruguay’s Ministry of Tourism for his worldwide promotion of Uruguayan cuisine and support of the Country’s more traditional products. Prizes were also won by Daniel Cepeda (2nd) from Chile and Germán Ghelfi (3rd) who represented Argentina.

The Meeting, held within the scope of the so-called “A walk through our Senses. Simply Uruguay” Project, was coordinated by Uruguay’s Ministry of Tourism, plus INAVI (National Wine Growing Institute) and INAC (National Beef Institute), for the joint promotion not only of Uruguayan wines and beef, but the Country’s famous tourist destinations, too.

The original and creative setup and just right cooking of the different dishes were appraised by the Panel of Experts that singled out Valentín’s for this careful recipe rendering and perfect handling of the kitchen resources. It took de la Hera just two hours to get the beef and Uruguayan-grown trimmings course ready to win the First Prize. The winning recipe offered charcoal broiled beef; pears cream seasoned with basil and boiled vegetables with grapes sauce. A recipe that combined international haute cuisine with a Mediterranean touch to achieve truly amazing flavours and textures.

Named La Comparsita the dish honours the composer of a famous tango, which is deemed like Uruguay’s cultural and popular anthem. A dish bound to be the star of a restaurant that INAC will open soon at Punta Carretas, a plushy section of Montevideo.

After a stint in different restaurants, Valentín de la Hera joined the Sol Meliá Hotel chain late in 1999, where, as the second chef, he displayed the best of his cuisine in the restaurant of the Meliá Madrid Princesa Hotel. Since then, de la Hera continued his professional success career until, early in 2002; he arrived at the Diábolo restaurant in the Meliá Galgos Hotel. Here, the Madrid-raised chef became a byword in Spain’s cuisine and was commissioned to represent Madrid and Spain not only at international events but, also, to lecture in congresses and meetings worldwide.

MELIA HOTELS & RESORTS is a trade name of Sol Melia