In the mood for a very enjoyable meal in a very comfortable setting? Make your way to Mood Food on Calle Pintor Salvador Abril. This is the second Mood Food opened by the talented Carlos Ruiz. His first Mood Food was on Calle Comedias. I have had the pleasure of enjoying his food over the last few years. It was time to learn more about Carlos and how he came to open Mood Food.
As often is the case with chefs I have met in Valencia, Carlos did not start out with the idea of cooking and opening a restaurant. His university studies prepared him to be an engineer. Somewhere along the way he found he really wasn’t enjoying engineering. What he enjoyed was eating good food. And with that, his culinary journey began as a dishwasher at Gino’s. In time he was making salads. With the encouragement of friends, the owner of Sangonereta on Calle Sorni hired him in spite of his lack of formal training. Realizing that he needed to be more formally prepared, in November of 2005 Carlos enrolled in a 1 1/2 year culinary training program at the Centro de Desarrollo Turístico de Valencia. He did his practicas at The Westin, Mar de Bamboo, Veles y Vents in the port and El Sucrer, an arroceria near Cullera. To further broaden his experience, Carlos spent 4 months in London working at PJ Bar and Grill in South Kensington. Upon his return to Valencia, Carlos worked at Submarino, the Casino, Mulandara with Alejandro Platero, and Samsha with Victor Manuel Rodrigo. An opportunity to instruct culinary classes for a culinary training project for European students took Carlos to Romania. He opened his first Mood Food in February of 2013, upon his return to Valencia.
The food at Mood Food is both delicious and eclectic. There are well prepared traditional dishes, among them very tasty fideuas and paellas. You will also find dishes with an Asian flair such as the outrageously delicious Gambas Mood Food. The ceviche is one of the best in town.
His steak tartare and his tuna tartare with avocado are outstanding. When asked about how he creates his menu, Carlos explained his process. “I make what I like to eat. I enjoy the process of buying fresh ingredients and transforming them into something to eat. I respect the product and don’t care to ‘over manipulate it.’ It has to be both appealing to the eye and healthy. What you eat determines how you feel.” Above the open kitchen are the words “Soul Kitchen.” I asked about that choice of words. Carlos explained food must be prepared with cariño y alma (love and attention, and soul.) A chef must cook with passion and give the best he or she has. A visit to Mood Food will definitely show you that Carlos has that passion and that his dishes are prepared with cariño.