Daniel Chavez, Chef and Owner of Ola Cocina Del Mar was one of our guest chefs at the Singapore launch of Westholme beef. Daniel served the Westholme beef rib eye in a Peruvian Chinese fusion dish. Originally from Peru, Chef Daniel studied at the Florida Culinary Institute. After graduating he worked in Spain and was an apprentice at La Sucursal when it earned its first Michelin star. He then worked for the legendary Catalan chef Santi Santamaria at El Raco de Can Fabes (the first to earn 3 Michelin Stars).
He then moved to Singapore and joined Les Amis for a 2 year period to later rejoin Santamaria as Chef de Cuisine at the opening of Ossiana at Atlantis Hotel. He then returned to Singapore as the Executive Chef at the opening of Santi in Marina Bay Sands. Chef Chavez is now the chef and owner of much loved Singapore restaurant OLA Cocina Del Mar. We caught up with him before the event to talk provenance, beef and his delicious Westholme beef dish.
‘I’m a Peruvian chef. I have a small restaurant in Singapore called Ola Cocina Del Mar. Today I’m here in the Spago restaurant at Marina Bay Sands for the launch of Westholme Beef and I’m very happy to be here.’
‘Today we’re doing a dish called Lomo Saltado. We’re using the Westholme beef rib eye steak. Traditionally this dish is cooked with a fillet but we’re going to show that not necessarily a rib eye steak, especially with this really great flavours that this beef has, does not necessarily always be used as a steak. So we’re going to sear it and later we’re going to stirfry it with a little onions, tomatoes and coriander and a little bit of Peruvian dried chilli that we have bought and it will be very tasty. This dish is a mixture of Peruvian heritage and Singapore with its very big Chinese community.’
You can recreate Chef Daniel’s Westholme beef rib eye dish by following his recipe here.
‘In Ola we are very lucky, I think we have a really nice clientele. The restaurant has a lot of demand for beef especially steaks. I like Westholme beef first of all because it has a really, really great flavour which is the most important thing when we source ingredients.
Equally as important is the story behind the farm. How well it’s been taken care of and all the steps, the process of the cattle. Our customers in Ola are very knowledgeable on the products that they’re taking. Our philosophy at Ola is in always honour the product that we have sourced. And having that in mind the beef I think the beef from Westholme has been really well received. It has a really nice combination of fat and also a really nice texture and the flavour is really beautiful. We barely put a little salt and pepper. We’re always trying to show how the beef actually tastes.’
‘At the end of the day I think something that sometimes we chefs forget that almost everything we serve was alive. If you think about cattle and the long process that it goes through when it’s been born, what it has been eating, of course it determines the surroundings the environment that it has been bought and of course the place that it has been raised, the cattle that it has developed a flavour that is good.
From what I understand the genetics in Westholme have been very well controlled and studied. Also after having the visit of the company to explain us about the product which I really appreciate because it’s really important for us to know what we’re serving, we see the amount of effort that goes into the feeling of every cow, how each particular cattle is being taken care of individually.
After working for so long as a chef it’s very important that we take a step backwards and we understand a little bit better where the ingredients come from. The history of Westholme is something that we’re very proud to showcase in this restaurant because it’s very important now days to have ethics in the way you do your business and I can see from what I have read and I feel from the company that the beef is very well raised and therefore has our support.’
‘I think it develops a really nice flavour. Sometimes when you try beef, especially Wagyu beef, of the higher marbling grades you can see that yes the marble content is nice in texture but there’s not much flavour. I would say that this beef has a really nice character on its meat flavour and our guests like that. Our guests like flavours that are very well determined so it’s a very good match for us.’