White Ibiza first met chef Juan Dechecco in 2010 (read the original interview here), as he took over the reins of the busy Hotel Es Vive restaurant. Over the past four years, the hotel restaurant, its menu and clientele have been constantly evolving – today, what was once a boisterous poolside bar is now the chic, classy Deco restaurant, serving up light bites and lunch by day and elegant, contemporary cuisine by night.
Intrinsically understanding his clientele’s culinary needs, Argentinean-born Juan runs the Deco kitchen with utmost professionalism and an ever-present desire to keep the menus fresh, creative and delicious from morning until night. Whether it’s perfectly poached Eggs Benedict, sharing plates of tapas or a fine dining creation you desire, you’ll find something to tempt your tastebuds on his carefully crafted menus.
As Hotel Es Vive evolved, and Deco was born, has your style of cooking changed along the way? I studied French cooking originally, so I will always more or less follow those lines, but I am constantly evolving year after year anyway. This happens with the books you read, courses you attend, places you travel, the ways you keep up to date with what’s going on. I have always changed the menu every summer – of course you keep some popular dishes on, like the chicken club sandwich or the curry, the crispy chicken salad… these are popular with our clients, but everything else
Tell us about the Deco menu concept in 2014? It’s a contemporary Mediterranean style of cuisine, with lots of modern techniques and equipment used in the cooking process. Absolutely everything is homemade. I do a lot of high pressure cooking – from sauces and vegetables to special creations like the compressed Iberico ham – which requires special machines, and knowledge of certain techniques… a vacuum machine, a slicing machine, a steaming machine… everything is packed together and cooked under pressure. For all the meats we serve, I cook them on the charcoal grill, from the steaks and ‘Secreto Iberico’ shoulder of pork to the burgers – it makes them super tasty.
Where do you source all your produce? Everything is fresh, and I try to get everything here on the island. We work with local fruit markets, farmers, the fish market and a special local butcher to make sure as much of our food as possible is local. I don’t want to order things from outside the island anyway – you can’t guarantee that in the middle of the season that you’ll be able to get them, and it affects your menu. I like to work with local people as much as possible.
How long does it take you to devise the new menu each year? I spend the whole winter doing it! I work six months of the year here, then the rest of the year I like to chill out, I go back to Argentina and I also travel, and I spend a lot more time at home in the kitchen, cooking, baking, working out new recipes, flavours, techniques. It’s good to have that quiet time to experiment.
What do you think about the changing Ibiza gastronomy scene, all the celebrity chefs arriving and opening restaurants? I think it’s great; it’s good for the island. I’m sure they’ll have a lot of success – even though the restaurants are expensive, people will go, and they’ll keep coming! Now we have Sergi Arola, Paco Roncero, even Cipriani, and I think next year there will be more.
Where do you eat out in Ibiza these days? I like to eat tapas a lot, a love a good jamon… but I don’t go out too much, I am always here! I still like Sa Punta in Talamanca, where my brother Diego is the head chef, it’s really good food.
So you’re a restaurant family! Would you ever work together here in Ibiza? No… we’ve had restaurants together before in Argentina and Brazil and it was good, then we came here together but work apart. Well, maybe some day we will, you never know!