Chef Lucas Bustos
Chef Lucas Bustos is the chef at Bodega Ruca Malen in the Mendoza wine region of Argentina. We met Chef Lucas during a winetasting dinner in Washington DC. Wines from Ruca Malen were paired with different courses. Chef Lucas made a dish for each course. The winery’s restaurant adhears to the philosophy of using ingredients in the restaurant from Mendoza. Chef Lucas grows vegetables and aromatic herbs used in the restaurant.
Many thanks to Chef Lucas Bustos for taking the time to respond to our questions.
Chef Lucas Bustos
Bodega Ruca Malen
Ruta Nacional 7 Km. 1059, 55009 Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina
What is your opinion on wine as an ingredient in a recipe?
I think that wine is one of the best things you can have in your kitchen. It adds freshness, flavor, and complexity. You don’t have to be afraid of using wine in almost every dish.
What wine varieties are the most commonly used in your cooking?
I love to use Torrontes for its floral bouquet. Malbec has sweet tannins that work lovely with beef. Cabernet Sauvignon has a spicy flavor that is a must with venison. I enjoy working with all of them!
When preparing a dinner, do you match the wine with the dinner item or do you prepare a dinner item to match a specific wine?
For special occasions, when you might pull out that special bottle that you were keeping for a long time, we think about what we like about that wine and we create a dish that enhances the best qualities of the wine. We do this for every course of our tasting menu. First, we consider the wine, and then we create the food!
How many different wines should be paired with a three-course and five-course dinners? (Should there be a different wine for each course of the dinner?)
One wine for each course is the ideal convention. But, you can have a white and a red (Chardonnay and Malbec, for example) on the table for a 3-course menu and that works perfectly as well.
What is your favorite recipe to prepare?
My favorite ingredients to cook with at the moment are fresh vegetables from our organic garden to pair with Chardonnay, using all the freshness, purity of fruit, and floral expression of the season.
Did you ever have an interest in becoming a winemaker?
Winemaking is like painting, and in this analogy, I am more interested in creating sculptures. However, Pablo and I work very closely together and I love that aspect of our relationship. The creation process of food is much shorter than in winemaking. I cannot wait that long. It is a personality problem that I have!
Chef Lucas Bustos Recipe