Juan Camilo Quintero Merchan



Poggio Rosso at Borgo San Felice

borgo San Felice
53019 - Castelnuovo Berardenga (Siena)
tel. +390577396601

Many aim to match the Italian (perhaps regional) cuisine with the most diverse international culinary cultures; some manage, creating tasty and pleasant dishes; few are capable of really creating something harmonious and successfully accomplished; and even fewer reach excellence, creating an exalting sharing of concepts, flavours, aromas that multiplies its effect, in the classic formula where 2 plus 2 is 5.

It is in the latter very exclusive group that we place Juan Camilo Quintero.

Born in Bogotá, in Colombia in 1989, he arrives in Italy in 2010 to study at Pollenzo and appears to be predestined to a champion’s career. This because of the ease with which he solves culinary puzzles, that is to say the absolute mastery with which he places the little bricks of aroma that make the flavour architecture of the dish. With a further remarkable plus: not only does he handle with great ease the to-us well-known flavours of the Mediterranean, south European area, but also those of South America, which are familiar to him. He mixes together and… surprise! This results in clean, neat, rational and yet biting recipes, which only rarely show some flaw that is well understandable, given the degree of difficulty of the task. In this stage he takes full advantage of the presence of a giant like Enrico Bartolini as his “supervisor” at Poggio Rosso del Borgo San Felice in Castelnuovo Berardenga (Siena).

In 2019, Quintero had returned to his mother in New York after his first experience as chef, at Osteria Volpaia near Siena, where he had already stood out. «I received a few job offers, in Italy and abroad. Then one day the phone rang and it was someone who claimed to be Enrico Bartolini. At first I thought it was a misunderstanding. Then I understood and was flattered». Hyper-starred Enrico had taken over the helm of the culinary offer at Borgo San Felice, a beautiful Relais & Châteaux in Tuscany; as usual he was looking for a real talent to work with. Quintero accepted immediately: «We met at Mudec to define the details. I landed in Milan from the States and entered the restaurant pulling behind me my suitcase, I came straight from the airport without wasting a minute. He appreciated the gesture. And we immediately found an agreement».

Quintero is not an irritable creative mind that poses endless boundaries. He knows how to measure stronger flavours as well as nuances. He’s very good with first courses, which are marvellous, showing how a different approach to “Italian” pasta can start more easily when someone didn’t grow up eating it at home, and hence has an approach with less boundaries. And his Sweetbreads with angostura butter, marinated vegetables, tartare of beef with tonka beans, broth of toasted plantain peel – a memorable fusion of Italy and Latin America – are perhaps the best ever, for us.

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Carlo Passera

journalist born in 1974, for many years he has covered politics, mostly, and food in his free time. Today he does exactly the opposite and this makes him very happy. As soon as he can, he dives into travels and good food. Identità Golose's editor in chief