Interview with Hugo Soca, founder and director of “Tona”, Montevideo’s new culinary gem.
How do you define Tona’s cuisine?
Tona is a restaurant that offers a homemade choice, home-cooked meals, soups and stews, made with flavors which are typical of Uruguay’s hinterland. We can find these flavors in casseroles, in stews, but are mainly obtained from the use of local produce, because we seek to highlight the essence of Uruguayan cuisine and classic local recipes, but reinterpreted with a contemporary touch. It is a very interesting concept for tourists and for locals, from the good acceptance we have experienced, it is like a return to dishes we had always enjoyed but have stopped eating.
For example, what dishes?
Stews, casseroles, potato tortilla made with potatoes slowly cooked in oil, spinach fritters like the ones made by our grandmothers, and all kinds of pot meals. The chimichurri mayonnaise topping the sautéed ravioli has been a true success. In fact, all dishes are being widely accepted, Uruguayans tend to be very classic and we like classic cuisine with a signature touch.
How are foreigners responding to these proposals?
Foreigners understand the concept although sometimes at the start they are more hesitant, but not all. Brazilians, for instance, are fascinated.
Is Tona the logical consequence of “Our usual recipes” What does it mean for Tona to be a member of the country brand? Do you see yourself as a potential ambassador of the Uruguay Natural brand? Do you like the idea of representing Uruguay and its cuisine around the world? What does the fact that “Our usual recipes” ranks among the top five cookbooks of the last 20 years mean to you? Source: Country Brand
I think so, because together they are creating an identity and become part of our culture. Everything has a continuity and goes in the same direction. Moreover, 90% of what there is in Tona is made by Uruguayan artisans. Everything, the crockery, the tables, the decoration. It was a detail sought to motivate and prove that here we can do almost everything.
Recognition and support in bringing the classic cuisine from the home to the restaurant.
I love the idea. It would be the realization of a dream. For me it is an honor because I know the source of almost all local produce. I speak about the source because I know the field, the land, the livestock. That knowledge provides me with a solid foundation. I know the interior of the country and also the cities, and that is what I try to position through the book and through Tona.
It is a great joy that proves to me that in a way it can be possible to be an ambassador of the Uruguayan cuisine around the world. As well as an achievement, because we managed to break free from the grill!
What does it mean for Tona to be a member of the country brand?
Do you see yourself as a potential ambassador of the Uruguay Natural brand? Do you like the idea of representing Uruguay and its cuisine around the world?
What does the fact that “Our usual recipes” ranks among the top five cookbooks of the last 20 years mean to you?
Source: Country Brand