Chef Daniel Vargas: A “Tico” Passionate for Haute Cuisine and Soccer

The Story of his Healthy Lifestyle

There are moments in life in which one decides to change, to take the direction towards what we are passionate about what is good for us. That happened to the Costa Rican chef Daniel Vargas when one day he sold his car and went to study gastronomy to Spain.

Daniel Vargas is a famous chef in his native country.
Chef Daniel Vargas in the kitchen

“I always liked to cook. In my family, everyone cooks, and I have 2 cousins who are also chefs”, says Daniel.  But many other things had to happen, to be the sports-chef who inspires his followers today.

“When I played soccer, I also studied physical therapy and, later on, administration. But one day my older sister told me: Why do not you study gastronomy if you like cooking so much? So I took some cooking classes to see if I liked it, and it fascinated me. Then I sold my car and went to study in Spain for 4 years, a decision that, at that time, was very difficult for me. That is, stop playing football in order to dedicate me to haute cuisine”, says Daniel.

Soccer is the world's most popular sport.
Soccer ball

Undoubtedly, Daniel Vargas’s life has had multi-faceted borders. When he came back to Costa Rica, he opened his own restaurant and got into the gastronomy business. But there was something missing: “When you work in a restaurant, the hours and schedules are quite heavy, and it is difficult to practice sports, eat well, and lead a healthy life”, he continues. From that reality, he began to consider a healthier lifestyle, to feed himself better, to work out, and to impose strict schedules for sports.

The story of chef Daniel is revealing in terms of setting goals and fulfilling them, but above all, maintaining them linearly in time. “Just as we schedule a work meeting, a commitment, or an event, so we have to schedule our daily sports hours. I started scheduling to exercise every day at 8 a.m., and if someone called me to meet at that time, then I would tell him I could not”, explains Daniel.

With regard to food, he follows the same line of thought and it is all about a matter of organization: “We can use Saturday or Sunday timetable to cook healthy dishes that we can take to work during the course of the week. In this way, you will save money and, at the same time, you will eat healthily. Your agenda and organization are key”, he concludes.

“Sports have always been a part of my family and my own life until I started to play professional soccer, I always thought that I would dedicate myself to that sport”, comments the chef. Although he also recognizes that he never imagined that he would dance on television. “I did not know that I had the ability to dance and, frankly speaking, I really do not know how to dance. But since I was so athletic, I found the movements they taught me, very easy to learn”, Daniel remembers.

Dancing with the Stars is a high-rating TV show for American audience.
Daniel Vargas Dancing with the Stars

Despite this, Daniel danced and won the competition alongside his partner, in territory totally unknown to him. The media exposure he had by winning this dance contest on an American television program, caused his social media to explode. Immediately, Daniel took this opportunity to start driving what he really wanted to do: “encourage a healthy life in others, eat well, and play sports”, he states.

After having all these challenges overcome, he often uses his social networks to talk with a wide audience that daily asks him for sports or kitchen advice, according to the topic that is being treated. Now he will also work with “Powerade Costa Rica”, by helping that sports community through his useful advice and own life experience, which is the same experience from a real sportsman who has to work and meet his daily schedules or duties day after day.

SOURCEWilmer Hernández
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I am not only a fluent Spanish-English reader/speaker but also a bi-cultural person who has a broad solid background. I also have a passionate interest in different expressions of music, especially many American styles and their combinations (Folk-Country, Jazz, Pop, Rhythm and Blues, Rock, Soul, and so on), dance, stage and screen, and some other forms of artistic expression.