Alberto Hernández’s grandfather was a chef and his mother was always to be found in the kitchen, so it’s fair to say that cooking is in Hernández’s blood.
Despite a degree in Biological and Biochemical Sciences, Alberto Hernández spent his weekends working as a commis chef, revealing his inherent passion for the culinary craft. His studies proved to be an asset to his passion for gastronomy, helping him look at every aspect – from dish design to cooking technique – in a new way.
In 2009, Alberto Hernández joined the Aqua group, at Aqua Nueva London, the first restaurant from the group in Europe. For eight years Alberto developed his skills in the English capital, honing his sophisticated understanding of molecular cooking to create contemporary Italian cuisine that wowed diners from across the world.
We got Hernández to put down the pans to chat with us.
Dinner parties: Casual or formal?
I like a mix between casual and formal as the food should always be sophisticated yet simple and delicious. To fuse the two types of vibe together, a mastermind chef needs to manage the time well to prepare a continuous flow of food (always more difficult than it looks), while setting the right atmosphere for all the guests to chitchat and have a great time!
What would your playlist be?
I believe that the music, along with room temperature and smell, needs to be aligned with the concept of the food. I would like to play Italian folk music when it’s a family gathering as it feels more lively or simple instrumental music when it’s a more formal dinner.
A must-have dish for any dinner party?
I believe dessert is extremely important. A small sweet bite with coffee or tea to end a dinner party will keep guests lingering around the table.
Your top three favourite Asian dishes
Japanese Sashimi – Toro, to be exact, the Japanese Ramen, and fried dumplings.
What are your must-try dishes in Hong Kong?
If I’m not doing barbeque with my friends at home, you’d probably find me having the Dandan Xiaolong Bao at Dim Sum Library and the crispy de-boned lamb ribs in Hutong.
What’s the secret to hosting the perfect dinner party?
Find out your guests’ taste in advance, always! It’s always best to prepare a surprise for them. The chef’s capabilities for cooking delicious food actually comes second.
Any traditions for dinner parties?
In my upbringing, we spent a lot of times with aperitif, small bites and snacks before a meal to lighten up the taste buds.
From a professional stance, I’d pay more details to the first few “bites” of the dinner courses more than I would as to the rest of the dinner.
I also think that champagne goes well with a variety of cuisines and is always a safe bet for a pairing at special dinner parties.
If you could invite any three people to your dinner party, who would they be?
I would invite Heston Blumenthal, Ferran Adrià (of course) and Cindy Crawford to my dinner party!