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Edwin Cuevas: A creative chef for a cuisine full of surprises.

Posted on
Thursday 06 July 2023

Dans le Noir ? restaurants are known for offering unique menus in total and absolute darkness. This sensorial experience comes to life through a surprise gastronomic menu, totally designed to stimulate the other senses. At the Madrid restaurant, the Chef Edwin Cuevas brings his creative and personal touch to the menu.

Originally from Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic, the chef joined the culinary world by coincidence. After graduating in computer science, he started working in Spain as a systems administrator. When the 2008 crisis began, Edwin had to change sectors out of necessity. That's when he started working as a waiter in a family restaurant. There, he had the opportunity to take his first steps in the kitchen: "There I met people working in the kitchen as well as in management. Through them, I got to know many jobs, restaurants and different types of cuisine, gastronomy and places", he comments. All these experiences have, first of all, given to Edwin the opportunity to have a 360 degree vision of the hospitality industry and thus the opportunity to have all the keys in hands to open the doors of the sector.

In the summer of 2019, he was offered a position at Dans le Noir ? Madrid. With a desire for change, new challenges and attracted by the atypical concept that Dans le Noir ? offers, he agreed to take charge of the kitchen team at Madrid's new trendy restaurant. Chef Cuevas takes meticulous care of the food, from the moment it is selected from the suppliers to the moment it reaches the customer. In addition to cooking, Edwin draws on his previous experience to further his work and his role in the restaurant: cost control, administration and maintenance of his kitchen and the restaurant in general.

Here, the menus are surprise and change every three months: "We work with seasonal products. At each time of the year we propose a different menu, working on diferents textures, flavours and smells". Inventing a meal for the dark is a major challenge for our chef: "It is very important that in the dark the customer can eat in the most pleasant way possible and that the quality of the products cooked is very high", he comments.

Although the food is enjoyed in complete darkness, the harmony of colors is important because it shows the guests what they have eaten when they leave the dining room. It is important to surprise, to play with the imagination and the perception we may have of the food. By taking away our eyesight, we also get rid of visual prejudices about food. In the dark, nothing is what it seems: many confuse meat with fish in the dark, red, white and rosé wine, most diners leave surprised to discover what they have eaten.

Each menu is the result of 3 months of creation; of research, tests and adjustments. In fact, the chef thinks of the next menu right after the new one is unveiled. To make sure it is fit for obscurity, it is tested with the whole restaurant team: managements, waiters, the whole kitchen team and sometimes external people we usually work with as suppliers. Any feedback is interesting, "Then the customers are the hardest test" Edwin acknowledges, in the sense that they represent the final stage of validation of the new menu. For this reason, the first few weeks of the menu change are essential to listen to each diner's comments and criticisms about the food.

Edwin gives a personal touch to each menu, mostly Mediterranean-inspired. The chef has several sources of inspiration: "I get inspiration from everything, especially from places where I go. I like to go because I've become a critic, either positively or negatively". As well as drawing inspiration from his experiences, he is always modelling the cuisine in his own way, adding a Latin touch, based on family recipes or products from his own country.

The atmosphere in the kitchen is a mirror of his personality and is fundamental to the smooth running of the kitchen. Edwin describes himself as a chef who is strict enough to maintain a high level of quality, without neglecting his fun and funny trait that brings the necessary lightness to the good atmosphere in the kitchen. In general, he is a hard worker and values this quality in others : "I like to work with people who you are training and who are valuing this training". In fact, the people who inspire him bring this quality. He likes to follow other chefs "Not because of their name but because of their work", he notes. He adds: "I think I have a lot of admiration for the vast majority of chefs who work because I know how hard they have to work to keep their work up to date". If he had to rule out one name in the world of gastronomy, it would be Amaury Guichon, the French pastry chef. "He's incredible, I think it's something that no one else on the planet is going to do, that only he does. So I admire him a lot for that."

It is interesting to see that Edwin's admiration for the unique work of the French pastry chef requires similar work to create a menu for Dans le Noir ? The concept of the restaurant is singular, unique and requires a lot of creativity.

No other restaurant offers a similar gastronomic, sensory and human experience as Dans le Noir ? Madrid. If you want to try our chef's unique menu, you can book here. (

We hope to "see" you soon at Dans le Noir ? Madrid for a dinner full of sensations!



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