With his barefoot‐on‐the‐beach demeanour, Manel Valero exudes a calmness you wouldn’t normally associate with chefs. When asked why he chose this profession, he says: “It was really by force of attraction. As an art student in Barcelona, I worked part‐time for a catering business. One thing led to another and now, here I am.”
Valero, however, is just being modest. His work has taken him all over the globe and he has worked in some of the top Michelin‐starred restaurants in Scandinavia, including Relæ and Geranium in Copenhagen and Maaemo in Oslo.
He has made Singapore his home base for the past eight years, where he has turned out creative, characterful modern fare for Kilo Lounge and Kilo Kitchen in Singapore, and previously, for the barbeque concept at Camp Kilo Charcoal Club. “Kilo has given me the tools and exposure to be where I am today. I’ve evolved and improved as a chef because I’m surrounded not only by people who support me, but also those I can learn from.”
When he’s not cooking up a storm, Valero can be seen getting his downward dog and Sirsasana (headstand) on at a yoga studio. He is clearly passionate about bringing yogic principles into the kitchen, believing that food, meditation and yoga can come together as a holistic wellness concept. “I want to fuse these ideas together,” he says, “so my guests can experience wellness that nourishes both the mind and the body.
“I spend most of my time in the kitchen and the most meaningful part for me is to be present with my team, to share my energy and provide mentorship. I want to be there to lead them through bad times, but also celebrate good moments together.”
Valero is wearing a shirt by Mr. P, and shorts by Chimala, both at MR PORTER