Since the age of 8, Martin Dolz, now a chef, has enjoyed stewed beans, which are considered a national dish in Argentina.
Although different regions of Argentina have different recipes depending on the produce and cattle available, every recipe results in a robust and flavorful stew.
Dolz’s recipe for stewed beans comes from his uncle. And he brings this recipe half way across the globe to Beijing, in the hope that foodies here will also enjoy the flavor.
“I’m not only acting as a chef now, but also bringing the delicacies and culture from Argentina to China,” says the 36-year-old Argentine who joined the China Grill restaurant in Beijing as the executive chef in May.
“In China, food is a philosophy and even more than that, but in Argentina, food is a tradition – people sitting at a big table and enjoying a lot of food, mostly meat,” he says.
According to him, the food in Argentina is simple, with not much dressing or spices.
In June, Dolz added several new dishes to the a la carte menu inspired by the flavors of his hometown in Argentina.
Stewed beans is one example, where he slow-cooks all the ingredients for a minimum of two hours to infuse all the flavors, and adds pumpkin for a hint of sweetness.
For an indulgent touch, he tops the stew with fragrant and nutty pan-fried foie gras.
Dolz honed his culinary skills at the University of Buenos Aires. But he began his culinary career in 2003 in Santa Cruz, southern Argentina, before gaining experience in a number of hotels and restaurants in Buenos Aires.
He continued to boost his leadership and culinary skills when he moved to the Grand Hyatt Sao Paulo in Brazil where he had the opportunity to work with Michelin-starred chefs, including three-star Allan Passard and two-star Michell Sarran.
In 2011, he was named the head chef and restaurant manager at Cavas Wine Lodge, a unique residential vineyard complex in Mendoza.
Speaking about his culinary influences, Dolz, who also picked up knowledge about wine pairing on his culinary journeys, says: “I’ve been traveling and living around the world, and I bring all my experience to my dishes.”
His new dishes at the China Grill build on the wealth of his experience.
Dolz’s version of ceviche is just one example.
One of South America’s best kept secrets for centuries, ceviche is believed to have originated from Peru and Ecuador, due to their amazing varieties of fish and shellfish.
Every Latin American country has given ceviche its own touch, just as Dolz’s. Incorporating line-caught wild sea bass from local waters with a traditional olive dressing, Dolz adds even more color and a citrus punch with tropical mango and passion fruit.
This refreshing dish is perfect to enjoy at any time of the year, but especially during the summer season.
“Traditional ceviche uses onion, tomato and pepper, but I’m inspired by my experience in Brazil, since it has very good mango, so I use mango, orange and lemon to give the dish a fresh flavor,” says Dolz.
Dolz also brings his modern interpretation of the humble Argentinian-style blood sausage.
A must-have in most Argentine barbecues, the sausage is made with pig’s blood, ground pork meat or offal and a secret seasoning.
The ingredients are then wrapped in regular sausage casings that are then cooked before serving.
Dolz uses the sausage and blends it with flour, eggs, and bread crumbs to make a croquette before deep-frying the patties until they are crispy and golden-brown.
The croquettes are then paired with a tangy and creamy homemade lime chili mayo with grated almond.
In the kitchen Dolz likes to talk with his Chinese colleagues, hoping to learn more about Chinese ingredients, and also asks them to try his creations and offer feedback.
“I like to do controversial things with food, as I like to show people a different way so they can taste something they are not used to,” says Dolz.