We are thrilled to introduce you to Federico Barrantes, Executive Chef, for Costa Rica Expeditions Lodges, Monteverde Lodge and Tortuga Lodge & Gardens.
Federico is passionate about cooking in general and more specifically passionate about weaving the tastes and smells of the many tropical ingredients and traditional Costa Rican recipes into his food.
Here are some excerpts from Trip Advisor
Terdal_Erik, July 22, 2012
..."My favorite feature is the restaurant. Fabulous! Excellent wait staff, and superb food. I ate here for breakfast and dinner every single day for a week. I have never done that before, but it was so good I had to try to try everything. Didn't succeed - it is a big menu"...
daughterofLDTC2, April 14, 2012
..."We went with the meals included and the restaurant is FABULOUS - so is the wait staff. Ask for Gerald and ask him to see his most recent animal pictures. He's great, the food is great, and the service is so attentive. We had a very romantic night outside complete with tons of candles, tiki torches, and great service. If you want to plan a special night - this place can absolutely help you"...
bccffh, August 11, 2012
..."Food at restaurant is the best we've had during our stay in Costa Rica. Loved the coffee station and the individual breakfast selections"...
Born in San Jose on September 18, 1980, Federico wanted to be a fireman when he was a little boy. His father worked for the Bank of Costa Rica and his mother was a stay at home mom. Federico has three brothers
Federico says that his mother has “muy buena mano” which means that she has a very good hand in the kitchen. His parents are foodies and his father’s job at the bank took them to restaurants all over town where his parents encouraged him and his brothers to try everything.
His paternal grandmother is of German descent and she was the one that first people to get Federico interested in cooking. She made a delicious “cajeta” which is a milk candy or caramel fudge, usually with the flavor of coconut or milk, sugar and vanilla. Federico remembers stirring the fudge with a wooden spoon for hours. When he got older, he then started helping his mom cook on weekends and today festive meals are his responsibility.
When he first graduated from High School, Federico began studying Agronomy and French. He had a brother that was an exchange student in France and through visits to his brother; he became familiar with France and gained a new perspective on food.
He later spent a year in France teaching Spanish where as luck would have it, he lived above a Creperie. The chef at the Creperie let Federico dabble in the kitchen with him, that year above the Creperie would be a turning point for him, he learned the in-house side of food and he gained new perspective.
When Federico returned to Costa Rica, he enrolled in a local cooking school, ARCAM. In his words, it was “love at first sight”. He thrived on the intense activity of the kitchen, met other like-minded Costa Rican men and women and fondly remembers an excellent professor that made a big impression on him. Two years later he graduated from ARCAM and ended up working at a local restaurant where we discovered him. We are delighted that he has joined our team.
Consistently turning out dishes are reflect the place is a challenge for any chef, but for Federico it’s an even greater challenge because he has to translate and teach his vision to the cooks that turn out these dishes every day.
Federico spends a third of his time at Tortuga Lodge, another third at Monteverde Lodge and the rest of his time in San Jose. He says his experience as a French teacher, has helped him be a better teacher for our local cooks, in our case the ability to teach is almost as important as being an inspired chef.
Our local cooks come from humble backgrounds and have very little worldly knowledge of food. What they have learned has been taught by the different people that have come through our lodges in the never ending quest to delight our guests at meal times.
Judging by how the lodge staff has warmed up to him and the fantastic reviews we are getting from guests, we’d say it’s better than it’s ever been before.
But don’t take our word for it, try for yourself and be sure to let us have your feedback↑ Back to Top