Chef – 2 Michelin starred Santceloni Restaurant,
man who accidentally found himself in a kitchen and decided
to make a career out of it…
in Segovia, the young Oscar Velasco reluctantly took a
job as a kitchen help in a small restaurant in his native
city hoping to move on to “better” things
in life. Surprisingly, he enjoyed the experience so much
that he enrolled in the Segovia Hospitality School and
trained in other prestigious restaurants such as the Zalacain
Restaurant to become a chef.
did you know that you wanted to become a chef?
was not until I had started work in the kitchen that
it dawned on me that it would be a profession that
I would be interested in.
fresh ideas did you bring to the table when you started
working under a Chef?
I preferred to work under a Head Chef to learn the
ropes. I was not very confident at the time so I felt
that I had a lot to learn; so it was not until I became
Executive Chef that I started to become very creative.
is your signature dish?
I have not created it.
Obama were to come to dinner what would you cook for
Free range chicken with sweet and sour paprika ratatouille
and wheat crust (Click here for recipe). This food
defines Santceloni and is based on our traditional
way of cooking. You see it, taste it and it exceeds
are some of the challenges you face as a Chef
As a chef, you never know what is going to happen in your
kitchen from one day to the next. The unexpected always
happens. One day all the lights went out in the middle of
a service and we had to manage to carry out business as
usual under total darkness and chaos.
poignant challenge was following the death of my mentor
whose legacy is immeasurable. I had a wonderful professional
and personal relationship with him. Though as ordinary persons
we were complete opposites, I was very organized and he
was not, he taught me how to lead a team and work within
a team remembering that they are working with you because
they actually want to and not because they have to. It was
a good lesson that has helped me to be successful to date.
you had to change anything at all in the world, what would
I would change tolerance. If only we could stop to feel
things in another person’s shoes, we would appreciate
and understand things more and everything would be better.
you like travelling and what is your favourite travel destination?
I like to travel all the time and appreciate rich culture
and good cuisine. I am not a “beach bum”.
you have any advice for new and up and coming chefs?
To become a good Chef, you need to have passionate about
cooking. It is hard work and if you are lucky, you will
get recognition. It is like when you are in a truck driving
steadily on a road; there are many cars that go past you
very fast and leave you behind but at the end of the year,
it is the truck that has travelled the farthest because
it hasn’t stopped; the truck’s journey has been
making the Free range chicken with sweet and sour paprika
ratatouille with wheat crust. Follow the recipe below:
Free Range Chicken breast-
2 range chicken breasts
250 grams of fine salt
Sweet and Sour paprika sauce. -
50 cl of paprika oil:
50 cl of extra virgin oil
2 grams of sweet paprika
100 grams of honey
50 grams of Xerez vinegar
30 grams of extra virgin oil
1 kg of wheat flour
500 grams of warm water
20 grams of salt
20 grams of baking powder
80 g of pitted olives
25 grams of olive oil
250 grams of onion
125 grams of red pepper
125 grams of green pepper
125 grams of courgette
30 grams of tomato saue
Sweet and sour paprika sauce. We start preparing the paprika
oil. First of all, we introduce in a ladle 25 cl of olive
oil with the garlic at low temperature until it gets crispy.
We remove it from the heat, fry gently and then add the
paprika and the rest of the olive oil. Whisk it with a beater
to decrease the temperature in order to avoid that the paprika
burning. Leave it for 5 minutes and bottle it through a
sieve. We preserve it cold.
In another ladle we introduce the honey with the Xerez vinegar,
heat it and wait until the honey became dissolved with the
vinegar. Then leave this ladle away from the heat. Once
this sauce is cold, use a blender and add the paprika oil
and the salt. Once it finished, leave it apart and reserve.
Free Range chicken breasts
Marinate the range chicken breast with the fine salt for
10 minutes. Once these ten minutes, washed them with cold
water and use a napkin to get rid of the water. Then introduce
the range chicken breasts in a vacuum bag with the sweet
and sour sauce and cook them for 30 minutes at 57 Celsius
grades in the roner compact. After that, cold the bag and
wait at least four hours.
After that time, open the bag and cut the breasts in narrow
slices with a knife. Add the bittersweet sauce.
Add some olive oil in a pan and one garlic and cook it until
it becomes browned. When the garlic is done, add the onion
in narrow slices and cook it for one minute at high temperature
before it gets brown. Add the two peppers cut in slices
without the skin and the seeds and cook them in the same
Finally, add the courgette and some fine salt and cook it
for another minute. Add salt if required and apart the pan
from the heat. For doing this, use a sieve to get rid of
the excess of oil. Put the ratatouille in a bowl, add a
spoon of tomato sauce with fine salt and reserve it in cold.
Put the flour in table (like a shape of a volcano) and add
the salt. In another bowl introduce some water and dissolve
the baking powder. Add the pitted olives and put this mix
in the center of the flour. Mix that dough until it gets
hard. Work this dough for at least 15 minutes until it gets
smooth and uniform.
Put the dough I a bowl covered with a damp cloth and leave
it two hours in a cold place until the dough reaches it
Then work the dough with a roller to broke the fermentation.
Stretch the dough over the table with a roller Keep these
dough sheets in a tray inside the freezer for 15 minutes.
After this time, cut the dough in slides of 10x3 cm and
in a pan with abundant oil fried them at 160 Celsius degrees
until they get brown. Dry the slices with absorbent kitchen
paper and leave the in a fresh area.
To end, above the wheat crust put a layer of ratatouille.
Above the wheat crust put the chicken making some volume
and finish the recipe by putting some cut fresh herbs at
the last moment.