Gotta Love Chef Urvin Croes

Local celebrity Chef Urvin Croes forever reinvents himself as an adventurous chef and determined businessman. He recently created Déjà-Vu, a new partnership, with fresh investors, also becoming member of the Aruba Hotel and Tourism Association, signaling he is ready to play with the big boys.

The chef intends to branch into several ventures via Déjà Vu. He started with Po-Ké Ono, a Japanese / Hawaiian inspired restaurant launched mid-pandemic, at Azure residence, and just added Infini, a culinary studio with 12 seats, at the adjacent Blue Residence.      

We were invited to try the 8-course chef inspirations menu at Infini: The food bears testimony to the chef’s creativity and flair and we wish you, dear reader, a fantastic evening, filled with taste surprises, if you decide to throw caution to the wind and take the hedonistic journey of exotic flavors on.

The menu begins with an homage to a forgotten vegetable, serving three delicious nibbles a mini Johnny cake, a tiny croquet and a baby cup, showcasing CELERY as mousse, cappuccino and custard, with hazelnut and lemon zest in picture perfect presentations. Crunch, munch, wow.

Chef Urvin favors contrasts, East & West, North & South, complementing a multitude of elements from kitchens around the world, sweet, sour, salty, bitter and savory: The Tuna is marinated and seared with Kimchi, Yuzu and Seaweed, the King Crab married to Watercress, red-orange Achiote, and Kombucha, the Cobia pan fried with Coconut, Cardamom and Papaya — the Filipino way, the Duck-three-ways blends Asian cultures including Indian and Chinese, the Short Ribs, escort snobby Porcini Mushrooms, a Korean chili – Gochujang, and Venezuela salsa, Guasacaca. The two desserts crisscross the globe for their ingredients, caramelized Banana with Miso, Black Sesame and Cilantro and later Italian Pecorino cheese with dark Truffle veins, paired with Pink Peppercorns, from Madagascar, and Poached Pear.

The number of ingredients is astounding, imagine the chef’s supermarket shopping list, so many, so different, each dish containing at least one dozen, plus garnish and crunch!

Chef Urvin is the Emperor of Micro Cooking, and it’s not about technology, it’s about local foods that are specific to a certain region, including local ingredients from Aruba. The best definition of what he does would be using local ingredients in recipes that come from different countries or areas, or inspired by them. The ultimate goal? To reach Umami, good taste, a perfect bite.

Lebanese honey, its more acidic, he explains, Ruku from Aruba, it is very traditional, he adds, Pecorino from Sardinia, Jerusalem artichoke, a tuber from the USA, Purple Wine Mustard from Dijon, France, and Star Anise, from Vietnam, Chef Urvin likes learning how to use ingredients that are native to faraway places, he integrates them into what he brings to his guests, promoting the original use of those sometimes forgotten gems.

We shied away from the wine pairing but it is super interesting featuring a Beefeater Gin & Sake cocktail, an Alsacean Gewurztraminer, an Austrian Grüner Veltliner wine, Abita Beer from the Big Easy, an Old Vin Zinfandel, a Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley and an Austrian Moscato.

The kitchen is in full view of the dining room, thus for three hours the culinary brigade cooks and plates, serves and cleans while we ‘Discover limitless possibilities through the art of gastronomy, granting the team the honor of fulfilling our culinary desires.’

Email: [email protected]. phone +297 6991911

Social distancing is easy at the culinary studio and staffers wear masks.

From the website: Before he started his own restaurant, Urvin built his resume working as an apprentice cook and ending as a Chef de Partie and Sous-Chef in different top-rated hotel restaurants on the island of Aruba. He also gained experience in Europe working at the One-Michelin star rated Grand Hotel Karel V. When Chef Urvin decided to follow his heart and open his first chef-owned restaurant, he stuck to his philosophy to promote Aruba as a culinary destination, first.

In his kitchen he favors traditional recipes but applies modern techniques in order to create a new elevated version. He enjoys buying as many ingredients as possible from local farmers, who have a passion for food and take their significant role within the final product served in the restaurant, seriously.

This synergy of elements is reflected in the dishes created by Chef Urvin at his restaurants.

Winner of the island’s first Iron Chef competition, Chef Urvin loves his kitchen, loves his island, loves his wife Maryann and loves the kids.  You’re gonna love him when you meet him, he is a big sweetheart.

When dining chez Chef Urvin, feel free to ask about the tastes you are experiencing, it’s included and expected

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November 23, 2020
Rona Coster