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Federico Barrantes

Executive Chef

We are thrilled to introduce you to Federico Barrantes, Executive Chef, for Costa Rica Expeditions Lodges, Monteverde Lodge and Tortuga Lodge & Gardens.

Federico is skilled at cooking in general and more specifically skilled at 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

BobandCarol45, March 08/2016
..."We had a fantastic few days visiting the Monteverde and Santa Elena Reserves and sampling more excellent cuisine in the El Jardin Restaurant produces by the Executive Chef Federico Barrantes, who has a great culinary talent."...

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

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Arrival Departure
Rooms Adults/Room Children/Room (*)
(*) 10 year olds and younger sharing room with parents.

Bar & Restaurant Staff

Milagros Vallejo Ruiz
Head Cook

Born in Leon, Nicaragua, Milagros came to Costa Rica with her sister, Nubia, when she was 17 years old. They crossed the Costa Rica – Nicaragua border illegally at night, in dense forest, they were assaulted by three men who stole their money and their belongings. They were left with what they were wearing and 5000 colons.

They walked from the border to Las Juntas and then from Las Juntas to San Rafael. The town of San Rafael is 40 minutes from Monteverde. Here they found work picking coffee.

Her sister Nubia decided to go back to Nicaragua, but Milagros stayed in Monteverde. When she first came to Monteverde Lodge 4 years ago she worked as an assistant in the kitchen. When the position of Head Cook became available, she asked what it would take to get the position and made a pledge to learn everything she needed to learn to do the job. She didn't let us down, she has turned out dish after fabulous dish and she makes up for her extremely shy nature in her interaction in general by being creative, curious and bold with her food.

Her message to people considering a visit to Monteverde Lodge & Gardens: "The staff at Monteverde Lodge is friendly and looking forward to your visit, in addition to that, this is a place where you will relax and enjoy nature, Monteverde a place you should not miss."

Oscar Perez Arguedas
Bar & Restaurant

Oscar was born and raised in the town of La Florida, 30 minutes from Monteverde. His parents have a cattle farm there.

After graduating from High School, Oscar worked in bars and restaurants in the Monteverde region. He has worked at Monteverde lodge since early 2010 and says that what he likes about working here is that he has time to get to know the guests.

"At Monteverde Lodge I am able to learn a little bit about our guests lives and share something about my own. It makes what I do a lot more interesting." I like that guest know me by name and are not shy about letting me know how they like their drinks or ask me for a special dish.

His message to people considering a visit to Monteverde Lodge & Gardens "Visit Monteverde to relax and experience Mother Nature"

Jeffrey Jimenez Alfaro
Bar & Restaurant

Jeffrey has worked at Monnteverde Lodge & Gardens for a year. He has worked in the region in the Food & Beverage industry since 2000 and he had always dreamed of working at Monteverde Lodge. "It's such a classy place," he says.

"I like what I do because it gives me the opportunity to have conversations with all different kinds of people. Without being too forward, I always try to get guests to open up and interact with me and my co-workers."

He has fond memories of a birthday celebration barbecue in the Gardens where he and his guests were visited by a Coatimundi that the staff has named Poncho. He says that he will never forget that celebration because when Poncho came ambling up, he decided to introduce him to the guests as one of the Staff. Our guest promptly incorporated the Coati in the conversation. Poncho sat in the amphitheater for the entire celebration and truly seemed to enjoy the festivities.

His message to people considering a visit to Monteverde Lodge & Gardens: "Monteverde is a place to open up to nature, slow down, relax and enjoy the forest and the tranquility of the region."

Read more about us:

The Quest for Pura Vida
9 Day / 8 Night Group Itinerary
Monthly Departures
Starting at $2,698 per person

Monteverde Lodge & Gardens
Lodge: 011 (+506) 2645-5057
Office: 011 (+506) 2257-0766
Fax: 011 (+506) 2257-1665

400 mtrs east (uphill) from the Frog Pond, entrance on the right hand side of the road.
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