AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH CHEF RAMONET MONTFORT
Set in the heart of Ruzafa, we had a delightful Sunday lunch at ‘Huerta y Huerta’ with a most amiable service. Accompanying a fairly fruity ‘Flor de Taronjer’ white wine, we savoured some tapas dishes that were beautifully presented. They combined high quality product like the deliciously grilled cuttlefish in a wonderful salsa and the distinctive flavours of brochettes that were marinated in a sauce for 48 hours beforehand. The day we went, there was a modern yet unintrusive instrumental music soundtrack in the background that went with the ‘Picassoesque’ visuals that make the interior refreshingly different from the norm yet still very 21st century. A warm and welcoming individual, chef and boss Ramonet Montfort speaks about 6 languages and has to be one of the most well-travelled chefs based in Valencia. He’s a man of the world with no airs and graces but plenty of experience and enthusiasm about cuisine. We caught up with him for an exclusive interview about this unique venture.
24/7 Valencia: Tell us about your background in catering…
Ramonet Montfort of ‘Huerta y Huerta’: At just 14 years old, I got involved in restaurants and started out peeling potatoes and dishwashing in Valencia. At 18 years of age, I left Valencia and started travelling & working abroad for the next fifteen years. I started in the London area. I was based in Sussex (where i have an uncle) in England and learnt my trade in small restaurants in Hastings, Brighton and Worthing…
It was when I started working in Berlin in Germany that I started to be involved with more sophisticated cuisine and I studied ‘hosteleria’ for three years. After that, I started working with food in Australia. After a year on a tourist visa, I moved to Vietnam. I studied their cuisine by working in local restaurants and learning about making soups, buying products at the local markets, applying spices, choosing the right vegetables and different ways of cooking for over a year. The Vietnamese way of life is very different to the materialistic West that is somewhat fixated with consumerism; it’s all about basic day-to-day survival in their world. The Vietnamese use spices & flavourings the way our grandparents would, looking for original ways to improve each dish. For example, they use a lot of coriander and citrus fruits in a way that you would not find in Mediterranean cuisine. The best “American” hamburger I have ever had was in Vietnam!
I have also spent time working or learning about cuisine in Cambodia, Chicago, Barcelona, Istanbul and Ibiza. Travelling really makes you grow as a person, the bad and the good experiences combined…
Can you tell us about the concept of your restaurant ‘Huerta y Huerta’ in Ruzafa?
The size and setting of ‘Huerta y Huerta’ has the advantage of having ‘Russafa’ market nearby, with some superb fish & excellent meats to choose from. This gives me the ability to make a more extensive & even more professional cuisine than in my original and smaller venture ‘Bodega Huerta del Ramonet’ in the barrio of Botanico, which closed so we could concentrate exclusively on ‘Huerta y Huerta’ in Ruzafa.
Being in Ruzafa and having more space inside as well as a terrace, ‘Huerta y Huerta’ allows me to exploit what perhaps could be called my culinary innovations to the max. This restaurant is my second in Valencia. In 2022, we are celebrating our fourth anniversary in Ruzafa!
The restaurant offers a weekly menu of Mediterranean cuisine. In addition to offering 2 lunch menus and 1 evening tasting menu, we offer a menu where you can enjoy high quality meats and fish made on the grill.
In the evenings, the idea is that every week there will be a combination of very traditional dishes from Valencia combined with touches of the chosen country of that week that I have visited on my travels. So, this could be Vietnam or Peru or a Caribbean country. The concept is known as ‘La Huerta del Mundo’. The cocktails reflect the country of that week. So, if it is Japan it will include ‘Saké’, for example. Regarding main dishes, a fusion that we will be including would be the classic Valencian dish ‘Fesols i Naps’ but with a Japanese ‘Ramen’ influence in the preparation & presentation.
Tell us about your desserts…
I learnt a lot about how to make them during my time in Berlin, which has French and Austrian influences. My plan is to present fusions combining traditional postres with either foreign or regional touches. An example would be using the local product ‘horchata’ instead of the typical vanilla that normally goes with a specific dessert…
Report & Interview by 24/7 Valencia team
Article copyright ’24/7 Valencia’
HUERTA Y HUERTA by RAMONET
Calle Cádiz, 61
(Reservations) Tel:960 211 173
See website for more info: https://lahuerta-rte.es/