Guatemala is home to some interesting cuisine, and local chefs are always testing the boundaries of what can be done with the plentiful local ingredients. Here are some of the chefs to look out for on your trip to the country, as well as some Guatemalans that are plying their gastronomic trade abroad.
Aldana currently works at Hotel El Convento in Antigua Guatemala, after previous jobs at Hotel Barcelo and the restaurant Jean-Francois in Guatemala City. Some of his best-known dishes are salmon with tangerine sauce, and tenderloin steak served with a sauce made from five different coffee preparations.
Mario Enrique Campollo
As executive chef at Casa Santo Domingo in Antigua Guatemala, Campollo is responsible for the kitchen at one of the best-known hotels in the town. Since he joined in 1991, he has risen through the ranks, taking regular sabbaticals from Casa Santo Domingo to work at top restaurants in the US and Europe. He is particularly known for his international cuisine made using locally sourced ingredients.
After growing up in eastern Guatemala, Moreno-Damgaard moved to the US., where she studied for a master’s degree in international business and culture before working as a financial executive for nearly 20 years. At that point, she realized she wouldn’t be happy unless she could devote more time to her number one passion: cooking. She now promotes Guatemalan cuisine in the US from her base in Minnesota, with recipe books and regular events to keep her busy.
Another Guatemalan chef who plies his trade abroad, Lopez has an even more interesting backstory. After taking several jobs around the US and Hawaii, he fell in love with a Japanese woman. They married and they moved to her hometown of Hiroshima, where Lopez was convinced to master the okonomiyaki pancake that is traditional to the city. Despite being met with incredulity that Japanese food could be cooked by a Guatemalan, Lopez now owns a successful restaurant in Hiroshima.
Diaz is the young chef behind the award-winning restaurant Mercado 24 in Guatemala City. The idea behind the restaurant is that all of the ingredients are bought from one of the city’s 23 local markets. It’s a concept that has struck a chord with the trendy crowd that frequents this zone 4 location.
Half American and half Guatemalan, Rossell grew up in Central America before studying in the US. He later returned to Guatemala to set up fine Italian restaurant Pecorino in the capital, before expanding his empire to include a chain of delis and Pizzeria Romanos.
Currently working at the Flor de Lis restaurant in Guatemala City, Télles won the 2016 Golden Fork award in his home country. When you’re in the city, head to Paseo Cayalá in zone 16 to try his gourmet Guatemalan cuisine, made using skills he picked up in the kitchens of noted restaurants such as Noma and Mugaritz.