Latin America’s Best Pastry Chef Award 2022, sponsored by República del Cacao

Latin America’s Best Pastry Chef Award 2022, sponsored by República del Cacao

Pía Salazar


Powerhouse pastry chef spinning Ecuadorian produce into avant-garde showstoppers

Hailing from the mountainous Ecuadorian city of Cuenca, Pía Salazar’s career in confectionery has reached equally great heights. After completing her culinary studies in Quito and Mexico City, she learnt from some of the region’s top chefs – including Astrid Gutsche, the renowned pastry chef of Lima-based restaurant Astrid y Gastón – before establishing her own restaurant with partner Alejandro Chamorro in 2014.

Behind the pass at Nuema (named after her three children Nuria, Emilio and Martín), Salazar expertly spins Ecuador’s biodiverse produce into avant-garde desserts. Dancing on taste palettes, she uses not only fruits, but also vegetables, spices and herbs to elevate her pastries.

Salazar and Chamorro pull out all the stops for their staggering 15-course tasting menu. Each dish, enigmatically named after a few of the star ingredients, is strikingly plated and bold in colour and flavour. Mains of aubergine, macambo bean and arracacha (a starchy root vegetable), arapaima fish with lemon balm and cashews, and mackerel served with jicama and guava are followed by eye-catching desserts.

To fully demonstrate the versatile and understated nature of Ecuadorian cuisine, Salazar takes guests on a culinary tour of the nation through her creations: yucca (a sweet root vegetable) is paired with orange blossoms and zesty mandarin; white algae is plated with yeast, black garlic and orange; and leeks feature with lemon verbena and vanilla.

History and art combine in the restaurant, which reposes in an 18th-century colonial house bedecked with artwork and custom designs. Working from a corner of Quito’s historic San Marcos neighbourhood, Salazar and Chamorro are keen to support and showcase Ecuadorian suppliers and sustainable practices across the board: many of the plates are created by ceramic artisans, while most of the fermented products, including vegetables and tubers, are produced in-house.

With original pastry creations, decades in the region’s top kitchens and with her restaurant also named the top eatery in Ecuador, Salazar is a deserving recipient of the Latin America’s Best Pastry Chef Award 2022, sponsored by República del Cacao.

Read the interview and watch the video to learn more about Pía Salazar: