Lima-Milan, roundtrip: interview to Renzo Inga-Flores

On the beaches of Lima in Peru there is a small seasonal restaurant: open only during the summer and since the 1950’s serving  guests fish specialities like ceviche. It is here where the story of Renzo Inga – Flores begins, 25 years old he holds the position of Chef Entremetier, responsible for all the first courses, in our brigade.

The restaurant was opened by Renzo’s grandparents, since he was a child he was fascinated by the energy and fast rythms of life in the restaurant and in the kitchen: early wake up calls, friendship with suppliers, researching  the best ingredients, conversations with clients and the late night closures.

Dishes are infused with spicy, vibrant and strong perfumes from the traditional peruvian cuisine and the light and creative citrus fruit tastes of Japan: the Nikkei cuisine born at the end of the 18th century when Peru welcomes the first immigrants from the Orient

Acidity, bold contrasts and unexpected assonances : Renzo will find them many years later in Lume’s cuisine , more than  ten thousand kms from his family restaurant.

At 13 years old Renzo and his family move to Imperia and when the moment comes to decide which will be his professional path , the answer comes naturally without doubts or hesitations: he will become a Chef like his mother and his grandparents. It is the choice of continuing the family tradition making his parents very proud.

The hotel management school in Arma di Taggia, near Sanremo, is more than an hour bus away: Renzo leaves home every day at 6.30 am and during weekends he works in small restaurants in Imperia. Sacrifices don’t bother him: he is used to hard work since a young age.

At 19 he graduates and leaves for Berlin where he stays a year: in the kitchen of Vino & Basilico restaurant he faces frenetic rythms and learns a great deal.

“ I had so much fun I didn’t feel the fatigue. In those 12 months I realized that panic and service are incompatible: in a restaurant, whatever happens one must never lose control” he says.

Renzo has the opportunity from the very beginning to practice this teaching. His first experience in a Michelin star restaurant arrives early: he enters as an intern in the 3 michelin star restaurant Mirazur belonging to the Argentinian Chef Marco Colagreco, top of the 2019 list of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants.

Back in Italy, our young chef works for  one year at  La Meridiana Hotel Resort & Golf, a small hospitality jewel located half way between Montecarlo and Portofino: it is here where Renzo and Luigi Taglienti meet for the first time. It is the Chef Anton Blass, that has worked with both, who suggests Luigi Taglienti to contact Renzo for an interview. Renzo enters Lume’s brigade shortly after.

With his  colleagues he doesn’t only share his work but a house and leisure time: “ The creativity of our team isn’t generated only by our diverse work and life experiences but also from the time we spend together” he explains.

His future?

For Renzo it is a return to the past, among perfumed ceviche and thirst quenching Peruvian cicha: “ I would like to go back to my origins, working in the family restaurant or opening something of my own in Peru. I would like to immerse myself once again in my childhood tastes but bringing with me all that I have learnt during  these years: not only new preparation tecniques and new ways of organizing the brigade’s work but a different mentality and professionalism”.

A future between heritage and evolution, just like LUME’s trademarks.