Ten minutes with Robert Ortiz, head chef at Lima London

Robert Ortiz

Robert Ortiz. Photo: Laura Lajh Prijatelj

Robert Ortiz is probably one of the most relaxed and kindest chefs in London. He has together with Virgilio Martinez brought the richness of flavours and colours of Peru to London. And I am so happy for this! I really enjoy the intensity and freshness which Lima (one in Fitzrovia and another in Covent Garden) offers. Lima was the first Peruvian restaurant in Europe to gain a Michelin star. Robert talks here about chocolate, the ingredient which is strongly connected with his roots.

At Lima London. Photo: Laura Lajh Prijatelj

At Lima London. Photo: Laura Lajh Prijatelj

How would you introduce yourself?

Naturally from Peru, proud Peruvian and a proud chocolate lover. I love to try anything with cacao.

What do you enjoy?

I love living in London and cooking our food, I mean Peruvian. Being here in such a wonderful city, I love to share our food and vision with more people globally – the knowledge of Peruvian cultural and gastronomic traditions. Giving attention to Peruvian culture, nature and Peruvian producers.

What is your ultimate dream?

To cook at home. I mean I really enjoy cooking in the restaurant, but sometimes I got the feeling I’m missing some time with my family. I really enjoy very authentic time quality time with my wife and kids. And I desire to find time to learn to play the guitar!

What is your greatest achievement?

The fact that I have contributed to Peruvian food, Peruvian culture … to make it better known and established in London, also as a community.

At Lima London. Photo: Laura Lajh Prijatelj

At Lima London. Photo: Laura Lajh Prijatelj

What/who is inspiring you?

People like Anton Mossiman, Jorge Heise, Gary Klaner, Billy from the Langham Hotel, …

What do you love most about your work?

I love cooking, bringing flavours from Peru to your table and seeing guests happy.

What are your favourite flavours?

I like the combination of sour and spicy.

What is your relationship to chocolate?

To be honest, I am a massive fan of chocolate, I absolutely love it. It is something that I enjoy every single day. I am from a region where cacao is cultivated, so for me, cacao is just in the air.

Which of the desserts on your menu is your favourite and why?

I like simplicity:  cacao, some salt and blue potatoes, that’s it. A humble ingredient with cacao can be transformed into something amazing.

What was the best chocolate dessert that you have eaten and where?

Chocolate mousse, with orange and spices at Caravaggio restaurant in Camberwell Green, London.

What would be your final message for our readers?

Please don’t waste chocolate. There is a bit of a shortage at the moment.

Try the wonderful flavours of Peru at http://www.limalondon.com/ and have a look at Robert’s recipe here.