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Colombia’s First Celebrity Chef

That palm dish is not only an illustration of Sasson’s commitment to ingredients but of his food fame as well. During the Uribe administration the then-president’s wife asked Sasson to help teach Colombians how to prepare and eat their indigenous heart of palm because building a market for the product was an important element of the first lady’s plan to convince farmers who were growing coca to shift to a legal cash crop.

Sasson even credits the battery of kitchen equipment he’s come to depend on over the years including a Japanese style volcanic stone grill, Vulcan ranges, top-shelf coffee makers, and anything that will let him light a fire. “I love cooking with wood,” he says. The kitchen in his flagship restaurant is such a toy chest that when Harry’s brother and business partner Saul showed me around, he shook his head and muttered “Harry had better make this work.” As if there was any question.

On November 1, 2014 Sasson will open his sixth restaurant and the first one outside of Bogota. It will be a 200 seat restaurant located in the Charleston Santa Teresa Hotel in the flawless Colonial center of Cartagena. Sasson says the menu will be similar to the wide-ranging international fare offered at Harry’s Restaurant & Bar with an emphasis on seafood. In true Sasson fashion, he’s had a special kitchen tool installed: an over-sized plancha just for the purpose of making the most of the Caribbean bounty on his new doorstep.

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