Don Prospero’s Young Chef Reinventing Costa Rica’s Bounty

Food, Glorious Food

February 2007 - Steve Aronson

We’ve had a restaurant at our roastery headquarters here in Costa Rica for years. Our early goals were to provide well-prepared, creative Costa Rican cooking to our guests who worked up an appetite doing the CoffeeTour.

But that goal has evolved as we’ve come to give people more reasons to visit. Today, the CoffeeTour is still a huge draw, but we’re also producing our own plays at our on-site Dionisio Theater. Our roastery gift shop and other shops in Costa Rica, Peru and Curaçao are also big attractions. They’re luring shoppers and hooking up talented local artisans with markets they never had before.

Our dining area got a big makeover about 3 years ago, and our “Don Prospero” restaurant was born. With an award-winning young chef and a strong desire to show off the bounty of this beautiful country, we refocused on the dining experience.

A good-enough-tasting, filling meal is as easy to come by as a cup of strong, cheap coffee. You’ll feel full after eating and may notice the kick of caffeine after drinking.

But you don’t really want go to a restaurant for that. You go to a restaurant to be surprised, to be delighted, to go beyond the notion of food as fuel, and coffee as a drug.

Taste is an easily satisfied sense. Give it sugar, grease, salt and it’s happy. The art of cuisine is moving beyond those baser desires to a more complex, discriminating level that includes smell, texture, color and sensation.

You won’t find red meats at Don Prospero, only fresh fish, chicken and a cornucopia of tropical fruits and vegetables, both wild and garden-grown. Local farmers produce most everything we serve. Our seasonings are fresh-ground herbs and spices, little salt and lightly sprayed olive oil.

Have you ever tried stuffed chayote squash, or mashed tiquisque with sweet potato? Ever sampled coconut milk, fresh pejibayes and palm heart?

Just as we’ve come to surprise you with the subtleties of coffees grown in different parts of the country, we want to surprise you at Don Prospero. That’s why we serve selections that aren’t only fresh, high quality and nutritious, but also innovative.

We’re always looking for new ways of preparing old favorites, using this incredible bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Our selections will exercise all your senses, not just taste. Because that’s what being human is all about.

And isn’t that why you really go to a restaurant?

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