Juan del Mar He is the most charismatic character on the restaurant scene in Cartagena. We were talking about his passion for food, how the figure of the restaurant owner has evolved and why he doesn’t want to be rich but tasty.
“When we feed, we give love”
Creative, multifaceted, sensitive, multi-creative… This is Juan del Mar, a marketing professional and plastic artist, who bet on cooking 25 years ago as a means to impact the soul of his diners. He is convinced that gastronomy is art, magic and passion.
“Since I was a child, I dedicate myself to what I do today”
“The religion of his house was cooking”, hence his passion for food. His mom was a great cook and she worried that his culinary education was very strict, in the good sense of the word.
“We played to guess the ingredients that the dish we were eating had; and until we deciphered them, we couldn’t get up from the table”, says Juan with a laugh.
Since he decided to dedicate himself to restaurants, “he has never felt like working”, perhaps because he radiates that joy and love that characterize him, in each of his restaurants: Juan del Mar gourmet pizzeria and Juan del Mar restaurant. “I feel blessed with my businesses, because we not only feed, but also love,” says this Cartagena.
Juan has had the opportunity to learn about the gastronomic past of Cartagena and see its evolution, until today. Before, in the city there were traditional restaurants, but it does not exactly refer to classic culinary proposals. “The owners sat behind the house, they were not active and they did not come out to the tables to talk to the customers.” There was not that warmth and closeness that there is today.
After the rise of gastronomy at a global and regional level, work in the kitchen and at the table was dignified, and restaurateurs like Juan began to be present in the kitchen, at the bar and even to make pizza, always vibrating with joy. together with their clients.
Although every day they propose to open a new restaurant, Juan is convinced that “he does not want to be rich but tasty”. His only ambition is happiness and growth as a person. Although he shared a secret with us: he opened a hotel in his house in Islas del Rosario called Isla Matamba.