Chef at Socialito Restaurant
My name is Billy Otis, I’m a chef of the Socialito, Hong Kong.
I was born in Santiago, Chile on April 24th
Mom always had a garden when I was growing up and she would pick vegetables and make us dinner each night. I would always help make dinner it was very interesting for me. In the spring we would visit my Grandparents in Florida and I’d end up in the kitchen with my grandmother making pasta sauce, casseroles and pies. Food has always played a large role in my life.
I’ve been a Chef here in Hong Kong for Eighteen months now at Socialito and now also at Lily & Bloom.
Going back I’ve been cooking for close to fourteen years now. I actually started working as a buser for a summer job when I was thirteen years old. I loved the atmosphere of the kitchen and restaurant in general. It was fast paced on the floor and your part of a performance, I was hooked.
The next summer I worked at a new place that served BBQ, it was basic but a good introduction. I then worked a couple years at a hotel that was the best food in our area, intro to fine dining.
I went to college in Boston and started working for Rene Michelena, an extremely talented chef who taught me skills that I would build a career off of. After a couple years I was in Chicago, moving around trying different cuisines, running various kitchens and making my own style of food. I helped open Marcus Samuelson’s restaurant in Chicago and learned much from that experience.
The other huge influence for me was working under Rick Bayless. I was working there for three years and learned an appreciation for the culture and how to make high end Mexican food. I constantly worked to learn the cuisine and combine it with my style/flavors creating new plates for the menu.
My favorite thing to at home is Papardelle with an Amatriciana sauce. I love to make pasta by hand, there is something about the process of kneading the dough, rolling it (also by hand) and cutting it that makes you appreciate the final product. The sauce I will go to the market and find the freshest possible ingredients and try to extract as much possible flavor in each step of the preparation. By the time I’m done kneading and rolling the dough and the sauce is made I’m tired. So it is amazing to me when I sit down with the smoky, bacony and slightly spicy sauce and tender pasta to eat. Always a nice glass of wine is essential to this home meal.
Things I like to do outside of work? I love spending time with friends whether it is over drinks or dinner, good companionship is essential to keeping a level head in this job. I enjoy playing Soccer (futbol) and basketball but wish I had time to do them more. I enjoy both friends and sports because there is always joking and “trash talk” which I think helps lighten the mood and engage all involved. If I’m feeling lazy I love to watch movies, this I can do with friends or am just as happy to do on my own, its therapeutic.
I hope that when you come to any of our venues the food that we create brings back memories or creates new ones. One of the things I love about cooking is to see the reaction of a guest when they have that first bite of an amazing dish and know they are having a great experience.
The dish on photo is the Sea Food Platter. This dish is a spread of all different types of premium seafood. From sweet Spiny Lobster tail to luxurious Amaebi and an Australian favorite luxurious Spanner Crab. The Haricot Vert adds some texture and color while the Citrus Beurre Blanc is a perfect combo for the seafood. There are no drawbacks with selecting this one.
I chose this one to shoot because of the array of seafood in the mix. Also the green from the Haricot Vert (French Green Bean) plus the yellow Beurre Blanc create Visual appeal. The dish looks great and tastes even better, why not choose for a picture. The Lobster is lightly poached in a court bouillion the tail is cut in half and grilled. The amaebi (Japanese Sweet Shrimp for Sashimi) is lightly marinated and served raw. The Crab Meat is dressed with an aioli and served as a “slaw” on the plate, the base for the Haricot Vert).
Shop 2, G/F, The Centrium, 60 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 3167 7380
“SOCIALITO” – a double entendre commonly used in parts of Latin American pop culture to describe a place where people come together to eat, drink, play, and socialize, while also used to describe a hip person who loves to go out and have fun, is a word that perfectly captures the essence of Buzz Concepts’ venture on Wyndham Street designed by world-renowned AvroKO – a venue that harmoniously ties together a relaxed yet lively taqueria, and a sexy while sophisticated bar/club