Argie Chefs: Gato Dumas

Today we’re going to take a minute to learn about the man behind the menú ejecutivo. Yep, that’s right. One guy is actually responsible for that! His name is Gato Dumas and he was a badass.

Gato was born in Buenos Aires in 1938 and began to dedicate his life to food in his 20s. Like most aspiring chefs looking for experience, he went to London in 1959 and was able to work with Robert Carrier (known as the “father of modern British cuisine”) as an apprentice. By 1965 he was back in Buenos Aires and had opened his first restaurant, La Chimére.

Through the 60s his career really took off, leading to several more restaurant openings (one on a steamboat, called El Delta Queen) and the introduction of the – ta-dah! – menú ejecutivo in 1969. He expanded into Brasil – Sao Paulo and Buzios – in the 1970s. In the 1980s – after opening nearly 13 restaurants – he started to get involved with television and catering events hosted by international bigwigs like Mikhail Gorbachev and David Rockefeller. He even starred in a music video with Charly García for “Cuando Pase el Hervor” – perhaps one of the most bizarre things I’ve seen but just go with it.

Gato received the crowning Bocuse d’Or award in Lyon in 1993. He opened his last restaurant, Gato Dumas Cocinero, in 1992 and established a cooking school in Buenos Aires in 1998. He became a regular contributor to Elgourmet.com, the first Argentine cable and internet culinary channel launched in 2000. He died of cancer in 2004, with his last book Mis Historias y Mis Recetas published after his death.

Photo Credit: El Cuerpo de Cristo

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