Continuing with his tradition of flavorful creative cuisine, Basque chef Martín Berasategui opened a new restaurant at Paradisus Cancun Resort in Mexico. Tempo by Martín Berasategui is the latest culinary establishment created by the noted cuisinier (whose prime restaurants include Martín Berasategui in Lasarte-Oria, Gipuzkoa, Spain; Restaurante Lasarte at Hotel Condes in Barcelona; M.B at Abama Golf & Spa Resort in Tenerife, Spain; and Santo by Martín Berasategui at EME Catedral Hotel in Seville, Spain). With a love for food that began at a very young age, Berasategui would spend his time bouncing between the fishing harbor and local Brecha market in San Sebastián, Spain, where he’d ogle everything from fish deliveries to vegetables being sold.
Drawing inspiration from his childhood, Berasategui crafts a six-course dinner-only tasting menu for adults at Tempo that revolves around seafood. Savor items such as the tomato stuffed with baby squid, light leek soup and truffle oil or the baked sea bass with broken potatoes and light aioli. And as a fresh twist on dessert, the red fruits infusion with goat cheese ice cream hits the spot, while the chocolate brownie with citrus marmalade yogurt sauce and tangerine sorbet surprises the palate.
But the fare isn’t the only appeal at Tempo — its impeccable décor stands out, too. Noteworthy furnishings include a wall covered in fractured pieces of mirror and a black baby grand piano.
I had the opportunity to chat with Berasategui about Tempo, how he stays on top of the competition and what the esteemed foodie enjoys doing in his spare time.
What will people find at Tempo that they won’t find elsewhere?
You’re going to find a solid restaurant where you can eat great food with authenticity and flavors.
What are some of the local ingredients you have used to create dishes here?
I found a lot of things to use, like fruits, vegetables and herbs. Recently, I tried a papaya and it was just delicious. Mexican markets in general sell the best of the best, and they deserve to be credited. When you go to a Mexican market, it represents an authentic trip — the freshness of the herbs and infinity of products that they have in the markets is just paradise.
What is your favorite dish on the menu?
I love all of them. [Metaphorically speaking,] my most favorite dish on the menu is the atmosphere and the human hand. I have an attentive staff that knows how to recommend the best and treat Tempo guests like royalty. The plate represents a mixture of hard work, art and kitchen magic.
How do you continue to stay ahead of the competition?
It’s just simply to enjoy [the process]. Everything needs to be good, and it’s something that I love, and it’s art. It’s my happiness — the kitchen, and all of the hard work the team puts into it.
What is your go-to meal that you can you put together in less than five minutes at home?
My favorite cucumber juice can be made in less than five minutes. All you need is some teaspoons of olive oil and a piece of garlic. Then, add a small piece of Mexican red pepper, cocoa and a vegetable from the coast of San Sebastián, and you will experience a sensation. It’s just amazing.
What do you enjoy doing outside of the kitchen?
I love to walk. I love nature, I love sports, and I love to enjoy every second of what I go through in life. I am with the philosophy that says I have to spend a good time with all. This world has been created to enjoy.
Photos Courtesy of Victor Elias, Melia Hotels International and Martin Berasategui