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Verve People
February 19, 2018

Jet Set Go!: Pablo Naranjo Agular

Text by Zaral Shah. Photograph by Shubham Lodha

In conversation with four intrepid globetrotters, we discover their much-loved destinations, packing hacks and things they will never leave home without. Here, we talk to Pablo Naranjo Agular

Pablo Naranjo Agular

Having gone from Colombia to France and now India, life has literally taken him around the world. A Le Cordon Bleu alumnus, Chef Pablo Naranjo Agular is currently plating wonders at South Mumbai’s Le 15 Café. Fluent in Spanish, English and French, he’s working on making Hindi the fourth addition to that list. And while Google Maps and Google Translate are apps he finds helpful on the go, his perfect getaway is spending time at his aunt’s remotely-located home along a very secluded but scenic beach in Colombia.

“I always carry with me a Colombian bag called a mochila. The bag comes from an indigenous tribe, is very traditional, and probably looks a little bit weird when I’m travelling around. When you see someone with a mochila, you know they’re Colombian.”

“When I left home, my grandmother gave me a small picture of the Infant Jesus of Prague that she was very fond of, and wrote me a small letter with it. I’m not a very religious person, but I have never travelled without it. I always put it in my bag or passport folder, because it reminds me of my grandmother.”

“In my cabin baggage, there is always food, whether I am travelling somewhere or coming back home. And I’m always bringing goodies for friends. From India, for example, I fell in love with Pulse, the mango candy with masala. When I last visited my friends in Europe, I took along a bagful, and just looking at their faces in reaction to eating it was amazing. On my journey back, I most often will bring things that I would miss.”

“My formula for packing is that I always stuff my perfumes and other fragile things in my shoes. I also try to use the flat soles of the shoes to form the edges of the bag. I unfold my pants, place them so that the waist is in the centre, pack all my stuff on top of it and then use the leg parts that are on the outside to fold everything in and close it all. That way it’s more organised, and if I have to open it at the airport, it will be easy to do so.”

“What I love most about travelling, is the food! You have to eat to survive and everything revolves around it. You can really understand so much about a culture from their food, mostly street food. There’s never a single bite that I will take on a trip that won’t mean anything to me.”

“I love getting lost when I am travelling, even though sometimes the people travelling with me may not like it! There are times when I put the navigation off and get lost on purpose. I enjoy having no clue of where I am, and having to ask and interact with the people around.”

“Japan was mind-blowing. As a chef, you know about all that they have to offer — the quality of the fish, their culture, how they work and everything else. It’s one of the places for which you really build up your expectations before you go, and will not be disappointed even a little. It is one of the places I most definitely want to go back to.”

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