Meet the chef: Diego Dechecco, Sa Punta

Diego Dechecco, chef at Sa Punta restaurant

After running his own restaurant alongside his brother in Buenos Aires for four years, Argentinean Diego Dechecco opted for a seachange and came to Europe in search of new experiences and a different quality of life five years ago. Ibiza was calling and in 2008, the position of chef de cuisine at Sa Punta became available, so he took up residence in what could easily be one of the island’s most amazing locations and has been there ever since.

What inspired you to become a chef?
I always really liked the kitchen, ever since I was a little boy. My brother and I always cooked and made barbeques. Then I studied French cuisine in Buenos Aires, and started off my career with my own restaurant there.

What led you to work at Sa Punta?
I came to Ibiza to work as a sous chef at Es Vive, and I was there for two years before I started working at Sa Punta three years ago. I really like the kitchen I have here, the team is really good and the place is amazing… the view! It’s completely different during the day to the night. I think the perfect time to be here is during sunset and you start to see Dalt Vila when it is lighting up.

How do you describe your style in the kitchen?
I have nine other people to be in charge of and a lot of things going on, so if I’m not a little strict things get missed. I have to oversee everything! Imagine when we’re making 180 dishes in one night – that’s a lot of work, so I also have to motivate the team, let’s go, let’s go, let’s go!

What is your signature dish?
Here we do Mediterranean cuisine, using fresh seasonal summer produce – we’re not trying to get too complicated and lose the real tastes. On Sundays we do Spanish rices, like Arroz Ciego with squid, tiger prawns and cod fish, Arroz Bogavante, which is lobster rice and a Catalan dish called Rossejat de Pollo Paies, which is fresh local chicken made with a really thin pasta. But we’re always trying new things –that’s what makes it interesting for people to keep coming back.

What’s your own favourite food?
I really like seafood. I like meat as well but if I go out, I go for seafood or for really good fish. I am always looking for new ideas, products, tastes or books. Also other restaurants and other chefs, I love my profession you know.

What are your favourite restaurants in Ibiza?
At the little chiringuito in Cala Carbo, they make amazing dishes like Bullit de Peix, a traditional seafood dish from Ibiza, it’s one of my favourites! Il Giardinetto in Marina Botafoch have really good pasta and Trattoria del Mar too. If you want to go and have really good French cuisine, try Pastis in Plaza del Parque.

What do you like the most about living in Ibiza?
It is like a small town – completely different to Buenos Aires. When you dive into the sea here it is a completely amazing experience, when you have a day off you can go to a beach and have paella – I really like the atmosphere, the island and the weather. And it is really good just working only eight months a year!