Gerson Mendoza, the current chef of Saga Moraira, tells us how his love for cooking was born and how these years have been since he dedicated his life to it.
HIS BEGINNINGS IN THE KITCHEN
Gerson Mendoza hails from Peru, a Latin American country with a strong reputation in the culinary world. Though Gerson didn’t envision it quite this way, he fell head over heels in love with this profession at the age of 19, captivated by the cooking of his mother, whom he watched attentively as she immersed herself in the art of cuisine.
“I would taste every dish my mother prepared, and I was amazed by how she could cook for 20 people without using measurements or anything, just by eye,” confesses the current chef of Saga Moraira.
With a style he enjoys, like fusion, Gerson relishes in combining ingredients, emphasizing those that are in season, but with a simple flair. For instance, curing salmon or mackerel and serving it with seasonal artichokes.
Years went by, and the chef has now been in Spain for 14 years. He took his first steps in the VIPS restaurant chain in Madrid. He immediately began to ascend, progressing from a dishwasher to a second-in-command in the kitchen within two years. From there, his growth didn’t stop. He became the Head of the Kitchen, a Management Trainer; he even took on the role of presenting new dishes.
In due course, with the intention of living on the Costa Blanca, he decided to apply for a job offer at Saga Moraira, where they were in search of a cook. Eventually, he moved to Ondara, and starting from October 2022, he began working in the kitchen. Of course, everyone immediately noticed that he was much more than just a cook. Various events led him to take charge of the kitchen.
He recounts that he built a great team, including an Argentine, a Romanian, a Paraguayan, a Spaniard, and himself from Peru. A diverse fusion similar to the ones he enjoys creating in the kitchen. “I like to create dishes where I encourage each team member to contribute. While I have the final say, I always aim for a blend,” he emphasizes.
SAGA’S MENU, BY GERSON MENDOZA
The current menu is tailored for the season, but the fusion of flavors stands out. Gerson mentions that at Saga Moraira, they offer the best Cod in Spain, but it’s prepared tempura-style and used to make a creamy rice dish that surprises diners and is adored by all. They also serve a spectacular ají amarillo ceviche, originating from Peru but now popular worldwide. They prepare a premium-quality tuna tataki and a short wakame (seaweed) escabeche.
Gerson achieved his desire to live on the Costa Blanca and works in one of the finest establishments in Moraira.