Richard Alcayde’s interest in cooking was instigated by his brother, when he was about thirteen. He started learning the craft in the kitchens of the Mar de Alborán restaurant and has worked alongside important figures like Manolo de la Osa, Pedro Olmedo, Dani García and the Schiff family. In 2000, he launched his own project in Torremolinos: MED, a restaurant which was awarded a Michelin star as well as being named as the best restaurant in Torremolinos, awarded by the town hall in 2005; best restaurant in Malaga in 2006 and best chef in 2010, awarded by the Academia de Gastronomía de Málaga, and was nominated as best restaurant at Madrid Fusion.
However, the crisis forced Richard Alcayde to close the business in 2012, after which he began a new route as executive chef of the Taberna Matahambre group. He then moved to La Pesquera in July 2015.
After his television appearance on Top Chef he decided that it was time to take back his freedom and move back into a kitchen of his own. He opened Coco Bambú in Torremolinos in May this year and offers a menu that does not shun his own roots here in Malaga but also embraces a fusion of tastes and techniques.
The diners are greeted with a ‘tapas of the world’, which could be a gazpacho of green tomato and apple, prawn croquettes al pil pil, Vietnamese rolls of goat kid or a salad of Malaga prawns. But there are also burgers, coca- pizzas, meats and rice dishes, such as black rice and monkfish with alioli or Ibérico pork, farm-raised chicken and artichokes.
Richard is accompanied in the kitchen by Roberto Nieves and Diana Tadjalli and Javier Castro is in charge of the dining area. In total he employs a team of 18 people.
Richard Alcayde cannot keep still; he knows he needs to delegate more but he likes to continually wander into the dining room to check on his customers and hear their comments.
He admits he is restless and has already taken on two more projects, including in the role of gastronomic consultant. The first project was the renovation of the Laundry in Puerto Banús which is set to open soon. The other was an overhaul of the menu for the Montana restaurant in Calle Compás de la Victoria, Malaga. The restaurant has been re-launched by José Nalda who is working closely with Richard to bring the restaurant back to its former glory.