“National food in Ecuador has evolved 100 percent”
Daniel Zambrano has worked at Casa Gangotena for two years and is currently the restaurant’s cook two.
I was born and raised in the coastal region of Manabí, in Canton Junín. The food is really great there and the people are warm and sociable. I miss it a lot.
The food in Manabí involves a lot of seafood. We eat a lot of yucca and plantain, soups too. Its gastronomy is very different.
My mum has a food business, she cooks for people in festivals and celebrations and sells dishes like seco de pollo. Dishes that people like the most!
I really like Quito, and the people, and the work. And I have my children and wife here. But whenever I have free time I go and see my parents and visit the beaches.
The earthquake of April 2016 was a really sad time. My brother lived in Jama. It was one of the worst affected towns and we didn’t hear from him in a whole week. We couldn’t get there, we couldn’t communicate with him. I was phoning trying to ask people if they’d heard from him. I went up there and was like Father Christmas, giving out things to people. Now, thank god, things are getting better, moving on.
The fish in coconut sauce is my favorite, the paiche. It has yucca and coconut, and they’re things that I have been eating since I was little. Paiche is really tender, it’s a great fish.
I’ve learned so much here at Casa Gangotena. I’ve reinforced what I knew before and learned three times more. This is a serious, modern kitchen.
Casa Gangotena, as a restaurant here in the Historic Centre, should always offer 100 percent Ecuadorian. I feel really proud of Ecuadorian food. We’ve got bolones, empanadas de verde, de morocho, de viento… There are so many great Ecuadorian dishes, I couldn’t choose just one! For example, the seco de chivo here is really good, the locro too.
I don’t know much about the restaurant scene in other countries, but what I know about Ecuador is that I have worked in hotels for two years, and I’ve seen it evolve, more people interested in national food. When I started, it was all about foreign food, and now people want national food: Ecuadorian. Because our food is good and we have to sell our own.
National food has evolved 100 percent, with our own resources.