Meet Juan – Head of Grill at Fazenda Edinburgh

Behind the scenes with our passadores

This week we’re in conversation with Juan David Ruiz Ortega, our Head of Grill at Fazenda Edinburgh who shares his story and takes you behind the scenes of the grill.

Juan joined the grill team in Leeds in 2013, moving over from Malaga, Spain. With the recent opening of Fazenda Edinburgh, Juan upped and moved north of the border to Scotland.

We asked him about his day to day and his favourite Fazenda cut…

‘No day is the same here, as there are so many characters that you come across when you’re serving a high volume of guests. Each day is definitely different, for sure!

On a typical day the team and I will get started early in the morning, especially the butchers who are responsible for the meat preparation. They’re experts in butchery and make sure that we get the best out of our meat. Depending on how busy we are, we’ll begin to slowly cook the meats before we open so that we’re ready to go for our first lunch guests.

It’s an art, being able to rotate the meats on the grill, manage guest preferences when it comes to how they prefer their meat cooked and ensure that each table has a steady flow of the extensive meat selection.

Generally though, in my job in particular I’m responsible for overseeing everything grill related. From quality control, through to butchering, cooking and serving the meats.The key is consistency, we have a responsibility to maintain high standards of meats and service for our guests.’

‘For me, the best way to cook meat is on big skewers – the gaúcho way!’

‘Although I’m Spanish, I feel a real connection with South American culture and have lots of Argentine and Brazilian friends. Being Latin means we’re quite open and extroverted in our nature and there are many similarities. As you can imagine, I’m super passionate about food and I love how Brazilians treat meal times – as an experience. I love how they treat the meat, how they take their time to cook it to perfection. For me, the best way to cook meat is on big skewers – the gaúcho way!’

‘Working in hospitality is tough, but like anything there are ups and downs. I guess the most rewarding part of my job is when you see the guests happy. It really makes it worthwhile. This usually happens when I offer them Fraldinha, my favourite cut haha! This cut is known as skirt steak in English, and it’s from the under the belly of the cow. It’s a really lean cut of meat, but the marbled fat gives it amazing flavours and makes it really juicy’

Do you have any questions for Juan or our grill team? Post in the comments below, Fazendeiros.