“I cooked all over the world, but realized if you want to really express yourself as a cook, you have to be honest to your roots,” says chef and restaurant owner Santiago Fernández Benedetto. After training at fancy hotels and Michelin-star restaurants around the globe, the chef turned to nostalgic grandmother dishes like olla de carne and beef stew for inspiration.
Benedetto transformed an historic manor house in Barrio Amón, into Silvestre, his avant-garde restaurant where he tells cultural stories through his cooking.Tasting menus might begin with an amuse bouche hidden beneath the ceramic head of a Pisuicas, or devil. The presentation is a nod to a character featured in Costa Rica’s masquerade parades. And the finale might be a sphere-shaped dessert filled with cacao and guava cream—an homage to the country’s mystical, UNESCO World Heritage petrospheres. “All it took was some confidence in our ingredients to showcase it to the world in a new way,” he says.