Chef Gabe is the Executive Chef at A La Carte Events & Catering. He’s been in love with cooking from the time he was very little, sitting on the kitchen counter helping his mom and grandmother cook. As he grew, that interest in cooking got stronger, until Chef Gabe started his formal culinary career at the age of 17. “My first cooking course was at the prestigious CEGA academy with Chef Victor Moreno, one of the most recognized Chefs in Venezuela. From that day on I've kept studying, researching and improving my cooking skills right up to today. Interestingly, Chef Gabe was born in Bloomington, Indiana, and raised in Caracas, Venezuela. “Venezuela is where a lot of my culinary influence comes from,” he says. One of his creations is a tiny plantain basket, which is filled with curried chicken salad or fresh ceviche for a passed hors d' oeuvre. He occasionally makes handmade arepas for events, most recently as an interactive station for 100 Houston event planners. They were a big hit! “Also, I come from a family of farmers and ranchers, so I developed a passion for cooking from scratch with super fresh ingredients. I started to grow my own vegetables and herbs, influenced by my Grandmother who loves plants and flowers.” His attitude fits perfectly with A La Carte Events & Catering’s culinary mantra of using what’s in season whenever possible. Chef Gabe’s Culinary Process Even though Chef Gabe doesn’t have the space to grow all of his own herbs and veggies for our clients, he really takes his time to select all of the fresh veggies and herbs he uses in each dish. In addition to personalizing each menu, every quarter he creates a seasonal menu that focuses on what’s produced in Texas, like ripe and juicy Fredericksburg peaches in the summertime and baby lettuces in December. Chef Gabe’s Philosophy “I think this love for plants, understanding that they have life, that they feel and that you have to nurture them makes me sensitive to every living being in this world. For example, in Venezuela I was active in PROVIDA, an organization that cares for stray dogs. Homeless pets are a very common issue in my country, and there are so many homeless dogs that we had a lot of work. I remember one time I found a dead mother with 6 puppies, the mother was hit by a car and the 5-week-old puppies were totally on their own. I took them home to give them a bath, cleaning their ears, taking off ticks, etc. Then I made sure to find loving familes to adopt them.” That generosity and attention to detail is seen in Gabe’s cooking, too. Nearly everything from A La Carte Events & Catering is made from scratch by Chef Gabe and his culinary team. More About Gabe Gabe also founded “Salvemos a Cuyagua.” Cuyagua is a very famous surfer beach that’s hidden behind a mountain west of Caracas. That paradise became so popular with locals and tourists that beach safety became a serious problem. “Because of the heavy traffic through the beach, the palm trees started falling,” he said. So, he started an education campaign for the people of the town. Once they understood what was happening, they changed the tourist guidelines and began planting more and more coconut palms trees on Cuyagua’s beautiful beach. “When you realize that every item on your plate was a living being, and that they gave their life to fulfill your palate, you start respecting every single item in your cooking. Once that hit, I immediately needed to create a better world. You can do that by planting a tree, helping homeless dogs, or giving orphaned children opportunities to have better lives (another of Gabe's passions). There are a ton of ways to give back." “I feel that responsibility every time I cook for our clients!” according to Chef Gabe. For Fun In his spare time, Gabriel enjoys hanging out with his wife Patty and their two dogs, a husky and a beagle. Lately he’s been building nursery furniture since they’re about to have a baby! Get in Touch You can reach Chef Gabe by email or through his chef Instagram account, where he regularly posts pics of his A La Carte Events & Catering creations as well as his side project: healthy kids meals for a day care in the Heights.