The morning sun filters through the stained glass window and bathes the main hall of Heritage House of Cooksthe Alta Gracia restaurant, 20 minutes from the city of Córdoba, where the chef Roal Zuzulich has been proposing for seven years discover the identity of regional cuisine in dishes of apparent simplicity, but that denote a very extensive handling of culinary techniques. A collection of pots on the windowsill, clay, steel, ceramic, glass, copper, iron, show its versatility. “I use all of them,” he says.
Roal has been cooking for as long as he can remember and with more than 30 years of professional experience (executive chef of Sybaris25 years in the Alta Gracia Golf Club), is a benchmark of haute cuisine and a tireless searcher for the best products of the season. His proposal begins with those noble, organic, close ingredients, always of the highest quality, which when passing through his kitchen find new dimensions and flavor notes.
Monday is a day off, the laid tables rest from the murmur, and Roal receives LUGARES with the warmth and friendliness that his clients recognize him. he accompanies him Ignatiushis 27-year-old son, who he also inherited a passion for cooking and, after traveling the world and training in the best restaurants, he hung up the bistro apron Mugaritztwo Michelin starsin the Basque Country, to return home with Juliana Thorpe, your partner and Brazilian colleague, and be proud of Inheritance.
Father and son enjoy each other, they understand each other just by looking at each other. The conversation is animated and one completes the sentence that the other started. In this new stage, complicity is part of the plan.
Creamy polenta with confit mushrooms. Grilled sweetbreads with potato cream and fried potatoes. A carrot cream with ricotta, mint and ginger. Pumpkin and basil ravioli, with mustard. Entrecôte with roasted sweet potato and spinach. Quince in syrup, gingerbread and honey foam… The menu of Inheritance It changes with the season and It’s a journey of flavors.
“I always think that the best dish is the one that comes next. Now I am very enthusiastic about pejerrey”, assumes Roal Zuzulich, who with his kid confit with pickled vegetables took the cuisine of Córdoba to the highest spheres.
Gastronomy comes from the cradle. With her five brothers, she grew up in the area of La Isla, on the edge of the Anisacate River, 10 km from Alta Gracia, where her parents ran a hotel that received passengers all summer and they went in and out of the kitchen room. This is how they learned the keys to the trade.
“The fact of having lived in the countryside, of going to look for firewood, farm eggs, milk, vegetables, left me forever with a taste for making sweets and working with mushrooms,” he says. To this “zero kilometer” cuisine of youth, in permanent creation and collaboration, different professional experiences and updating and specialization trips were added. Roal Zuzulich built the prestige of its signature cuisine on the basis of local identity, nurturing itself from the environment and the personal contact with producers and suppliers, not only from Cordoba, which it promotes to this day.
From cheeses to meat and vegetables, truffles or salmon, there is always a reason to incorporate this product in the kitchen of Inheritance. The same happens with the wine list, where varietals from Cafayate and Mendoza stand out, and also from Calamuchita, such as Tizun Malbec of the Rio del Medio wineryeither sinkholesfrom Terra CamiareColonia Caroya.
Roal enjoys his work and, with the daily dish, he passed on that same passion for cooking and hospitality to his two sons, Iván (host at the Estancia El Terron) and the recently arrived Ignacio. “The apple didn’t fall far from the tree,” he laughs.
At a time when many people his age are looking for new horizons in Europe, Ignacio is happy with his return to Córdoba. He is excited to be able to apply some of everything he has learned around the world (from food handling techniques to plating) in the kitchen of Inheritancewhich he describes as “refined home cooking, served with the best of the environment”.
“In Mugaritz is another concept. It is cooked to eat with the head, not with the belly” she defines. “It is among the 10 best restaurants in the world and offers a 24-step menu. The idea is that your head continues to eat for the next few days. Covered is 250 euros, 400 with pairing. And there is no dessert, to convey that there is no end point.
“It was a nice cycle. Suffered, exhausting, but very cute. It has a staff of 44 chefs, 35 interns, since the team is renewed by 80% with the menu, which changes every year. I was there for four years, the last three as head chef”, he sums up.
The experience in the Basque bistro run by chef Andoni Luis Aduriz, located in a farmhouse between Rentería and Astigarribiawas the end point of a long journey of work and training in gastronomy that had begun in Rio de Janeiro at the restó lasaiby Rafael Costa e Silva, and which included an inspiring stopover in France with michel brazthe king of natural cuisine, recognized worldwide for the famous Gargouillou, a free association of 40 herbs, vegetables and flowers, his signature dish.
“I spent a year in that field and it was a dream for me,” he describes, still grateful for the contact that brought him closer the Cordovan sommelier Sergio Calderón, who has lived in France for years and was recently distinguished as “the best sommelier in the world, for his very free approach to wine, without received ideas or prejudices”, according to the association The Great Tables of the Worldwhich integrate 180 restaurants from the five continents.
“We came back with all the desire”, assures Ignacio, also speaking for the smiling Juliana, before heading both to the kitchen and returning from there, ten minutes later, with a delicious mushroom carpaccio (Laminated Portobellos, assembled in a circle) with dried fruit gremolata and leaves of the day, sage, basil, coriander and oxalis flowers. This handmade ceramic plate looks like a painting and smells like herbs. “They are fresh, from the garden,” says Roal, who looks, tastes and approves with undisguised pride.
Heritage House of Cooks. Dean Funes 140, Alta Gracia, Córdoba. T: (03547) 43-4224. www.herenciaresto.com.ar Lunches and dinners, open from Wednesday to Sunday at 12:30 pm and 8:30 pm. Sundays, also breakfasts. Monday and Tuesday, closed. Lunch menu, with starter, main and dessert, $2,100. Suggestion menu, with four options at each step to explore the palate from end to end, $3,200.