By CRISTINA ALCOCK [email protected]
On October 29, a small group of journalists was invited to the newly opened Gusto by Heinz Beck, the signature restaurant at the Conrad Algarve, and were treated to a tasting menu prepared by the chef himself.
With three Michelin stars to his name at the world-famous La Pergola at the Rome Cavalieri, and a further star at Apsleys at the Lanesborough London Hotel, the German chef flew to the Algarve to join his team at his latest signature project.
Known as the ‘Master of Gastronomy’, chef Heinz Beck is responsible for the concept – serving light, Mediterranean cuisine in an elegant yet informal atmosphere – and the seasonal menu at Gusto, using only the freshest ingredients and incorporating some of the best Portuguese produce.
The seven-course tasting menu, which featured dishes unique to the restaurant as well as some of the chef’s signature dishes, was a master class in culinary excellence, with the prominent chef heading the show kitchen during his short visit to the Algarve.
Joining his team at Gusto, which includes the chef’s golden boy, head chef Mike Bräutigam, Heinz Beck joined Joachim Hartl, general manager of the Conrad Algarve, and the group to share his vision for his latest project.
With a very Mediterranean approach to cooking – he admits to being more Italian than German – the three-star chef said he is still discovering the products of Portugal for his weekly-changing seasonal menu. “The fish is excellent here, as are the fruit and vegetables,” he said.
Having created smaller menus with decent sized portions, Gusto reflects the chef’s concept perfectly, based on the foundations of serving light, tasty food that’s easy to digest.
In fact, Heinz takes his social responsibility seriously, having published various books regarding healthy eating over the years.
Exuberant and down to earth, chef Heinz Beck’s definition of cooking is “a fragment of the universe in a 28cm-dish.”
As for his aspirations for Gusto? “To make guests happy. All the rest is secondary.”