Written by Jackie Sloves for Anamaya
Meet One of Anamaya’s Gourmet Chefs
Name: Oscar Lopez Quesada
Birthday: November 4, 1979
From: Alajuela, Costa Rica.
Hobbies and Interests: Skateboarding, hiking, a little bit of surfing.
Favorite Food: A lot of fruits and vegetables all the time. All kinds of food, I can create a simple hummus but with a touch of tahini and garlic, it makes a whole new flavor. I also love Costa Rica Peruvian fusion. There’s too much! Salads. Quinoa of course! What else? Thai, Mexican, Peruvian. I don’t know, there’s a lot. Sea Food!
Where did you learn to cook?
I worked with one of my best friends who is an International chef from North Carolina. Since I have been cooking with him, we have opened 3 different restaurants in Santa Teresa (a nearby town). He taught me how to cook in the restaurants over there for 5 years.
What is your other previous work experience?
Besides working in the restaurants in Santa Teresa, I also owned my own Soda (small Costa Rican restaurant) in my home town, Alajuela.
What is your secret to cooking delicious gourmet food? Freshness.
What is your motivation behind cooking? I love to eat well, but also healthy at the same time.
What is your philosophy about organic food? Of course Organic food is better for people and the environment, but here in Costa Rica non-organic tastes great too because everything is so natural here. Everything tastes so fresh, it is very simple but delicious at the same time.
Are you able to cater to special diets, such as vegetarian, vegan, or gluten free? Oh yea, I specialize in vegetarian food. Now I am working on developing new raw food recipes too.
What is your favorite dish to cook? Fish, shrimp, and other sea food. No, no, erase that. Quinoa stir fry with mushrooms. No, no, no, erase this, I got it. I love to cook pan-seared red snapper with caramelized pineapple and asparagus! Yes, that is the best.
How long have you been working for Anamaya? About 5 months, since Anamaya opened.
What is your favorite part about cooking at Anamaya? I love playing with a little bit of everything. I like how people will say they want chicken for dinner, or fish, and then I can create something delicious especially for the guest.
What is your best memory of Anamaya? Which one, I have too many! One of my most beautiful memories of Anamaya was when a big family came from the states and rented the whole place. They just enjoyed staying here the whole time and didn’t think about what they needed for food, because I took care of it. I love being able to provide that experience to the guests.
What is a typical day in the kitchen of Anamaya? A lot of work because I am trying to make sure each meal is what it is – for example, if you want guacamole I make guacamole. It is simple but every dish of every meal is made with special attention and love.
What makes Anamaya the best? The location, and the view is unbelievable. You need to come and see with your own eyes, and smell all the delicious flavors coming from our kitchen. It is the smell of love.