Oscar Díaz was born in Lima (Peru) in 1982, to a family from Cajamarca who ran the legendary seafood restaurant El Pez de Oro. Growing up among ovens and stoves helped him to learn the art of cooking, while he was studying to become a chef. He arrived in Barcelona in 2010, and has worked in hostelry in the city ever since, starting with the Tragaluz Group and ending with Palosanto in the San Telmo Tragaluz Group – a restaurant that he currently leads with his savoir faire.
Q: Tell us the 5 best sellers at Palosanto.
A: Pork cheek, slow cooked at a low temperature for 36 hours, corvina ceviche with rocoto pepper sauce, marinated tuna hunks with soya and quinoa, mussels with coconut sauce and green curry and finally, burrata with marinated salmon.
Q: Which dish is your favourite when it comes to cooking?
A: The tuna hunks – a dish that is in principle very Mediterranean, which I have given a very Peruvian touch. It’s a creation of my own which I always put a lot of love into, so I recommend trying it.
Q: And which one do you enjoy the most?
A: Burrata with marinated salmon.
Q: What dessert do you think is essential?
A: Chocolate coulant is always a winner.
Q: Tell us about the roots of your cuisine.
A: I’ve been in Barcelona for seven years. My family on my father’s side has a ceviche restaurant, which would be the equivalent of a seafood restaurant here, so I grew up in an environment where cooking was very normal. I had to take charge of the business when my father died, until I decided to move to Barcelona to continue growing. Here I worked in Sagardí first and then in the Tragaluz Group, where I got to know Jaime Santianes, executive chef of the San Telmo Group, who signed me up to be in charge of the kitchen at Palosanto.
Q: You’re Peruvian and your influence is noticeable on the menu at Palosanto, which has a base Mediterranean. What do you think of this type of cuisine?
A: Mediterranean cuisine is fabulous, and I am hooked on it, but without forgetting my roots. I aim to provide our clients with Mediterranean food, but with a touch of fusion that despite having a Peruvian foundation, may also come from other parts of the world.
Q: Tell us which restaurants we can find you at when you’re not keeping an eye on the kitchen at Palosanto.
A: I often go to Surya, an Indian restaurant at Pau Clarís, 92, and Cañete (C/Unió, 17) never fails.