Eugenio Melo, chef divulgator of Chilean gastronomy and owner of the catering company Banquete Factory, reveals how his professional career has evolved within the kitchen. His business has a mixed oven, a vacuum packer and a Distform blast chiller. In addition, it was the first in Chile to integrate a mychef concept oven.
We could not imagine us without the mychef equipment, it has become an essential part of our kitchen
How and when do you discover your vocation for the world of cooking?
I don’t come from a family of cooks or from a long history of generations in the field. I’m the first one in my family group to do this, and the most in love with my job! I started 21 years ago in this world of gastronomy not knowing very well what I was getting myself into. Once inside, once I started studying at Inacap, I literally fell in love with this profession and put all my energy into it.
You have a long professional career in gastronomy. How has your professional life evolved in all this time and what experiences would you highlight from it?
I think I have had the opportunity to go through several areas in gastronomy. Without a doubt, I think that start in ‘los sartenes’ was fundamental to me because it gives you the practical and applied bases of what this profession means. Then my time in the academy allowed me the theoretical complement, forced me to study and prepare to lead a career. I think that forming people is beautiful. Today, in my third stage, managing a company is another project that motivates me a lot. Undertaking, managing and leading a great team is a challenge that I do every day with a lot of passion.
In terms of Chilean gastronomy, what are its distinguishing features and what moment is haute cuisine going through in Chile today?
Chile is a very long country geographically, in fact, it is the longest in the world. That allows us to have many climates and gives us an immense culinary diversity. We are a very fortunate mix of good ingredients of world quality, with a great gastronomic moment that is reflected in the number of young people who want to be professionals in this sector at the level of chefs that exist today in the national market. This is in addition to an unprecedented nationalism. Today, Chileans love what is ours more and ‘we believe in the story’, so without a doubt it is a great moment for Chilean cuisine. We just need to achieve a joint work of all public, private, guild, academic … We need each other to make great our cuisine.
What does Chilean cuisine bring to the international arena and how is it being exported outside the country?
Today Chile is recognized for certain products in its export basket, rather than for its cuisine. Our country is a symbol of good salmon, good wine or excellent fruits, among others. The work we still have to consolidate is to reach the foreign market with our flavors. We are tasty for cooking and Chilean cuisine is rich above all else. I think we are on the right track, but we still have a long way to go to consolidate this image abroad.
With respect to your company, Banquete Factory, how did the project come about and what can we find in it?
Banquete Factory was born almost 9 years ago as a catering and events company focused on the corporate segment. We have become experts in serving companies, we know what they need and read their needs quickly. We feel like true allies of your strategic objectives. We want to be always a partner of each one of our clients not only in the speech, but in the action. Our gastronomy, responsiveness and service are prepared for that.
How has the Factory Banquet been received and what gastronomic elaborations do you offer to your clients?
The truth is that our growth has been gradual, but sustained. Every year we grow at a rate of 15%, which shows that the road is on the right track. We have many permanent customers and with some of them we have been working since our departure, which speaks of loyalty, but in turn forces us to innovate permanently in our proposals. Our kitchen is classic in its base, we believe that it is the base of all contemporary gastronomy; it is functional, since it must respond to the needs of the world of work and its reaction and service times must be efficient and well thought out for the type of client we have and, finally, it is flexible, since we must adapt to each type of company, which all have their own needs.
In Banquete Factory you cook with the professional range mychef, why did you choose our products?
The truth is that we are very admirers of the work done in Chile by your representative El Volcán, we know how it works and it gives us confidence. Added to that, I met the mychef equipment when they first arrived in our country at the Espacio Food & Service fair and I was delighted with the sizes, technology, functionality and everything at a very competitive market price. Today we believe we have made the best decision.
Banquete Factory was the first catering company in Chile to acquire the mychef concept oven. How useful is it in your day-to-day work and how do you evaluate its cooking?
I think, in simple words, today we can’t imagine us working without mychef equipment. They have become an essential part of our kitchen. Having the combined baking oven line, blast chiller and vacuum packer from Distform completes the safe and innocuous work that is key for us.
In addition to the mychef concept, you have a Distform vacuum packer. What kind of culinary preparations do you prepare with this packaging machine?
In the first place, it is the best way of storing our food, because it gives us a modern and orderly method of conservation. Above all, our events are in any part of Santiago or Chile, where the client requires it, and this forces us to move with all the food delivering in little space and safely a displacement of all the food that the event needs.
Has the work at Banquete Factory improved since you use the mychef concept combi oven? Would you recommend this oven to other cooks?
Absolutely. As I said before, it is a key piece today. Once you include a mychef equipment there’s no turning back, you start to need them 100% and we get a lot out of them. I recommend them anyway.
Finally, what future challenges do you have for Banquete Factory and for your professional career in the medium and long term?
Ugh! My goals are always very ambitious but calmly, I don’t want to achieve everything in the immediate. Both in personal life and at work, in business is no exception, things that come very fast go very fast. I prefer to always consolidate with solid foundations to grow steadily over time. Today I am motivated by everything that has to do with my profession, I do it with passion and great dedication. I wake up every day with the same energy and I will continue like this for a long time to come.
To have professional kitchen machines with which to carry out a safe job. To have a method of conservation and maintenance of foods ideal for the displacements that a company of catering carries out.
I was delighted with the sizes, the technology, the functionality of mychef, and everything at a very competitive market price. Having the combined baking oven line, blast chiller and vacuum packer from Distform complete a safe job that is key for us.
Catering / Banqueting
Mychef concept oven, vacuum packing machine and temperature chiller from Distform
Banquete Factory was founded in 2009 by Eugenio Melo and Daniela San Carlos, gastronomy professionals in Chile. This corporate catering company is located in Santiago de Chile and is distinguished by the quality and creativity of its dishes, together with its personalized service for each client.
Eugenio Melo is one of Chile’s most renowned chefs. His professional career includes teaching at Inacap, where he has been director of Gastronomy, with the vice-presidency of the Chefs Club of Chile Les Toques Blanches; in addition to presenting the documentary series ‘Recommend Chile’ of Canal 13 and running his own company, Banquete Factory.