Earlier this month, we sat down with Edgar Victoria, Virago's newest Chef de Cuisine.
Edgar began his journey with M Street a little over a year ago as a Sous Chef at Kayne Prime. In January of 2018, he began his new role at Virago as the Chef de Cuisine. Edgar's skill, hard work and creativity led him to this new leadership position, and already, he has proven to be a great asset to the entire Virago team. With his vast knowledge in culinary cooking techniques and passion for farm-to-table ingredients, Edgar brings to the table fresh ideas and his own twist on Japanese cuisine. Continue reading to learn more about Edgar and his life on the block.
Where are you from?
I was born in Mexico City, but I’ve lived in Nashville basically my whole life.
When did you first start working in the restaurant industry?
The first time I stepped into a kitchen was when I was 18 years old. My friend asked me if I wanted to work with him, and at first, I said no. After some convincing, I took the job. I started as a dishwasher and worked my way up to prep cook, line cook, and then saute cook. This is where I found my passion and realized that I was in love with cooking.
Where did your career go from here?
Well I knew I wanted to learn from the very best. So, I started researching the best chefs in Nashville and began to work for a few of them. Before making my way to M Street, I worked in several farm-to-table restaurants under notable James Beard Award chefs. I also worked under a Michelin Star chef who helped develop me into the chef I am today.
What did you take with you from these experiences?
I learned so much from these experiences. I realized I loved cooking with local, seasonal ingredients. I also learned all about cooking different types of food and combining different cultures. For example, if I’m cooking a dish, I might use Latin American ingredients with Japanese cooking techniques. Or maybe if I’m using local, southern ingredients, I might use French cooking techniques. I always want to put my own twist on every dish and surprise people with different flavors.
What is your favorite vegetable to work with?
I love cooking with mushrooms. My grandmother had a garden when I was growing up, and some of my first memories about food began with watching her in the kitchen. She would use fresh vegetables from her garden to cook and made a lot of dishes with mushrooms. She is a big inspiration to me along with my Latin roots.
How did you end up working at M Street?
I found out about M Street and first did some research on the company. I really loved the culture behind it and wanted to give it a try. I interviewed and after just a few days, I knew it was home for me.
How long have you been with the company?
I came to M Street a little over a year ago. I started out at Kayne Prime as a Sous Chef and at the beginning of this year, I transferred to Virago and became the Chef de Cuisine.
What makes M Street different than other places you’ve worked?
The culture here is different than any other restaurant I’ve worked in before. While it is very chef driven, it also is very family oriented. It is very professional which allows for open communication. There is also a lot of teamwork.
What is your favorite thing about working at Virago?
I love the communication and the teamwork. At the end of the day, it’s not about one person. It’s about the team. I’m very passionate about teamwork, and love that we all work together to give each other feedback and make each other better. I also love collaborating with such a talented team that comes from all different cultural backgrounds. We are constantly learning from one another. We are like one big family.
What is your favorite item on the Virago menu?
The Truffle Futomaki
What is your favorite dish to make?
Pork belly and grits with tomato gravy.
What do you like to do in your free time outside of the kitchen?
I love riding my motorcycle, reading books and spending time with my family.
Who are some of your culinary role models?
I have a couple. My top four are Enrique Olvera from Pujol, Daniel Humm from Eleven Madison Park, Corey Lee from Benu and lastly, Virgilio Martinez from Central.
Edgar's culinary skill, positivity and passion for teamwork have been felt since his time with the M Street family. We are so excited to see his journey continue with us and are thrilled to watch him grow in this new leadership position. Congratulations, Edgar!