Interview with Gerardo Villacreces, Entrepreneur and Founder of Ukllana: Mountain Comfort Food

We believe in the talent, creativity, and resilience of our chefs and allies, for this reason we have developed interviews, where we will present various gastronomic projects that will inspire our community.    

On this opportunity, we have created an alliance with the segment “Who is Who”, alongside our communication ally, Juan Carlos Castillo, where every week we will talk about well-known chefs and entreprenurs, their stories, creations, formation and inspirations. This week we present Gerardo Villacreces, entrepreneur and founder of Ukllana: Mountain Comfort Food.  

Gerardo Villacreces graduated as a Lawyer from Universidad San Francisco de Quito, and from the beginning of his career he has dedicated his life to develop as an entrepreneur too. On 2014, he was recognized as one of the 100 most respected Entrepeneur Leaders from Ecuador and he is also part of the Entrepreneurs Organization alongside other well-known international entrepreneurs. And this is how Ukllana is born, with this same entrepreneurial character.  

The restaurant’s essence on Gerardo’s words isthe faith on its country”. During the beginnings of the COVID19 pandemic the gastronomic market was one of the most affecte, many local restaurants were forced to close their doors, and it was impossible to think that new gastronomic proposals would have been developed suring this time, however, Ukllana did it. After stopping its construction due to quarantine, Gerardo decided to restart the project on April 2020 with all the safety and health measures needed, He brought hope and work for many among adversity. Ukllana’s construction gave work to 25 people from the Uyumbicho community during the first months of the pandemic, when the common denominator was the lack of employment. Moreover, the project was finished without any infection, which Gerardo assures was because "everything was done with love, faith and thanking God and Life.” 

Ukllana is a unique space, which is reflected from its infraestructure to its menu created by the famous chef Alejandra Espinoza. Its wide spaces and paniramic view to some of Ecuador’s most famous mountains like the Cotopaxi, Antisana, Pasochoa and Illinizas, make it a safe place that helps its clients to get out of their routine without getting far away from the city. Its gastronomic proposal is based on being the first comfor food restaurant at the edge of the highway with dishes like the Tigrillo de Altura, Sandwiches, Empanadas, Yuca Bread, Locro de Choclo, Tomato Soup, Chicken with Pesto, Avocado Quesadillas, desserts and much more. Also, they are characterized by giving a personalized attention to each client, which is why if someone wants to, for example, try their breakfasts during the evening or at night, at Ukllana they can do it. Another important aspect is their “open kitchen”, thanks to which its customers can witness the cooking process of their orders, this develops trusts on the ingredients and chefs.  

Ukllana in “quichua” meansto hug”, a concept that was so undervalued before the times we are currently living, but now it has emerged again through a place of entrepreneurship, faith, trust and love for our country and our gastronomy. Learn more on the following interview by Juan Carlos Castillo.