Tell us about yourself: 

My name is Juan Pablo Poveda Trejos, and I was born and raised in San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica. I have three kids, and already one grandchild. My wife and I have been together for ten years. Along with my kids, my wife moved from San Jose to Puerto Jimenez about one year ago to live with me, since my career has taken me far away from home.

When I left culinary school in 1999, I immediately started to work for high-end hotels in San Jose, including the Radisson, Hotel Barceló, the Hotel Belén, the Marriott hotel, and the Intercontinental hotel.

I also worked for several years in various restaurants around San Jose, including a US sports bar, a Spanish restaurant, a French restaurant, an Italian restaurant, and a Peruvian fusion restaurant.

Around two and a half years ago, I arrived on the Osa Peninsula. At first, I worked for an Eco-Lodge (Lapa Rios), but since July 2019, I’ve been working with Crocodile Bay Resort and couldn’t be happier.

I love the new Botánika project. I believe it’s a well thought out project and offers an incredible opportunity for all of the staff.

What is the most unusual request you’ve ever had from a guest?

One time a guest asked me for a plate of fruit with dinner, served on the same plate with the tenderloin. This was an odd request, as I have never seen fruit served along with a piece of fillet.

What is the most challenging experience you’ve ever handled at the resort?

Another staff member in the kitchen at Crocodile Bay, Enrique, taught me how to properly filet a massive piece of fresh tuna. Strange to think, that I have never learned how to cut a perfect piece of tuna filet until that day. It goes to show you that you can always learn something new.

What’s your most significant professional accomplishment?

The biggest accomplishment in my career is to say that I love what I do. It doesn’t feel like work if you do what you love! This job is my passion. It gives me purpose and joy. I would not trade it for the world.

The best career advice you received?

You are always learning! My best advice is to listen to everyone, even a chef’s assistant or any kitchen staff, as they can teach you things you did not know.

I once worked alongside a co-worker, who I found out later, could not read nor write. It did not affect his job at all, and he was one of the best co-workers I ever had. He could read my cooking orders because he had memorized the way the words “looked” on a piece of paper. This taught me; you can achieve anything if you want to!

What do you love most about your job?

I love that in my job, I am always learning, and it doesn’t feel like work. I love passing on my knowledge and helping others become better chefs. I also love decorating and creating abstract “art” on the dishes for our guests.

What is your favorite dish?

I love to cook and eat Risotto (all varieties of Risotto).