This year our 2015 Reader Restaurant Awards have four personality-based categories: Best Chef, Best Manager, Restaurant Personality of the Year, and Food Entrepreneur of the Year. During the voting period that runs through March 8, we’re profiling a few of this year’s crop of nominees.

This time around we present Daniel Urdaneta, executive chef at Mosto Group, who has been nominated for Best Chef and Restaurant Personality of the Year.

TBJ: Tell us how about how you got to where you are today.
I fell in love with this profession a long time ago in Venezuela. I have always wanted to travel and learn about other cultures and people, and this career is perfect for that. I first went to the US, and after that to Barcelona. When I was in Spain, I was offered the opportunity to come to China to head up a kitchen. With hard work and passion I find myself where I am today!

TBJ: What dishes are you most proud of?
It’s like choosing between your kids, you just can’t (laughs). But if you twist my arm, I would have to say the foie gras with Saffron Risotto & Parmesan Crisp at Mosto. It’s been with me as long as Mosto has.

TBJ: Tell us about your biggest kitchen disaster.
Oof. When I worked in Miami, I cut myself on both hands in one week. It was pretty embarrassing, and I couldn’t work for two weeks!

TBJ: How do you feel that Beijing rates on the scale of international dining destinations?
On a scale of one to 10, I'd give it a seven.

TBJ: Tell us about one of your favorite places to eat in Beijing, aside from your own.
I love Chinese food, for me it is one of the best discoveries of my life. Karaiya Spice House and Transit are amazing, because I love spicy food.

TBJ: Have you always been this charming?
No, it’s something you have to learn in this industry, talking to all walks of life that’s the beauty of the restaurant world.

TBJ: What does Beijing need to become a more personable city?  
I think Beijing is very personable. I’ve been living here with my family since 2006, and I love how diverse this city is. You can have amazing food in a hole in the wall, meet great personalities in your local bar, and have a sensational night out on a whim. I’ve been living here for almost 10 years and I have no plans of leaving.

TBJ: If you could host anyone, alive or dead, at your restaurant, who would it be and why?
My uncle, I miss him.

Click here to read previous editions of A Few Words With wherein we profile some of the top players in Beijing's food scene during the voting period for the 2015 Reader Restaurant Awards, which runs through March 8.

Photo courtesy of Mosto

Visit the original source and full text: the Beijinger Blog