Santi Plazas

Love and passion are the key ingredients in creating wonderful dishes, says Santi Plazas the head chef at one of Birmingham’s newest venues, the Pineapple Club

Tell us about your cooking

My style of food is derived from many corners of the world, bringing together multiple different flavours to create a unique fusion. I’m always excited by the idea of learning new things and showcasing new techniques and skills to make people happy.

How did you become a chef?

I trained in Spain in a small restaurant after I had finished secondary school but also had a passion to cook for my younger sister and learn new recipes to make for her. I left for the army for five years and then came to the UK where I worked at El Barracho and began to train more in food with the head chef at the time, Nacho Castells.

What do you eat when at home?

I love to eat and create Italian food which I share with my family as we are all very close. My wife Pamela is Argentinian and also loves to cook traditional Argentinian dishes.

Who’s the best chef in the world and why? And who’s the best in Brum?

Joan Roca is my favourite chef because he started in his family business and has worked his way up, constantly involving his family with his success. In Birmingham, I admire Leo Kattou from Simpsons restaurant. He also started working with food from a young age, taking his skills and knowledge to further his career, while also being a good person.

Is the customer always right?

You always try your very best to satisfy your customers. Nothing is more important to me than making people happy with my food.

Share a cooking tip

To cook with love, passion and enjoy what you are doing.

What was your favourite food as a kid?

I have great memories of my father cooking lamb and the house would smell strongly of the wonderful aroma – although it was a dish my mother didn’t enjoy…

Food heaven and food hell?

Heaven would be a luxury kitchen, so I can have all the resources to create and experiment. I don’t dislike anything in the food world, but it’s best to keep me away from peanuts and prawns to prevent an allergic reaction!

What’s the most unusual thing you’ve eaten?

Cow tongue, which is a traditional Argentinian dish. It was tasty but the texture was very strange! Sea urchin straight from the sea also has an extremely strong flavor.

If you weren’t a chef, what would you be?

Still in the army, as this was my other passion. But if I could start over, I would love to be a vet.

What do you recommend from this evening’s menu?

The Colombian Arepas. It’s fantastic and allows me to showcase my heritage.

How are you adapting to the Covid-19 restrictions?

We are going to be offering more deals for two to encourage households to still dine together. We always maintain the safety of those around us, including our guests and staff.

The Pineapple Club Cocktail Bar & Beer Boutique, Unit 16 Great Western Arcade, Birmingham, B2 5HU.