Originally from Madrid, Barroso worked with Ferran Adrìa at El Bulli and at Denis Martin in Switzerland, where he honed his skills and developed an outlook that was entirely his own. For him, food is about elevation. Barroso takes the best ingredients and combines them in ways that will surprise and delight all those who have the pleasure of eating his cooking.
Chile holds a special fascination for the chef, who has made the country his home. Barroso moved to Santiago at age 26 after cooking his way through some of Europe’s most inventive restaurants. Barroso established 040 in 2015 as a means of exercising his own desires in the kitchen. “I have always thought, and this is why cooking is appealing to me, you have an infinite freedom to do as you please,” he says. 040 has been named as one of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants and is praised by critics around the world.
In episode four of the series, the acclaimed chef talks his team through a dish he will cook using picoroco, a rare mollusc native to Chile that lives inside a conical mineralised shell. “I am not sure how they taste,” he concedes. “But I think that because of that, we should try something new.” There is never any fear or hesitation in Barroso’s approach; rather, he embraces the daring impetus to do something that hasn’t ever been done before. New ingredients, new methods, new perspectives: in consistently elevating taste, the only thing Barroso avoids is choosing the conventional path.
Yet tradition always underpins Barroso’s work. “You need tradition in order to innovate,” he explains, voice edged with passion. The Lexus LX allows him access to new possibilities. Barroso drives to the coast looking for the picoroco he wishes to cook, and on the way visits a tiny hillside goat farm to try the flavoursome cheeses made there. Barroso’s food is about finding the balance in a blend of varied flavours, letting each ingredient enhance the others. “No element is dissonant – and yet they must be different.” It’s an approach that allows every individual aspect to shine, and at the same time, creating a sum that is greater than its parts. It’s something that mirrors the ethos of the Lexus LS flagship sedan, too–Barroso’s ride of choice during his recent stint at Intersect by Lexus in New York: using the strength of single elements to create a unique experience, powerful in and of itself.
Watch Sergio Barroso's journey here: