All photos courtesy of Cranes Spanish Kaiseki

Resy QuestionnaireWashington D.C.

20 Questions with Cranes Spanish Kaiseki’s Pepe Moncayo


In the Resy Questionnaire, we play a game of 20 questions with the industry folks behind some of our favorite restaurants. What’s your most memorable restaurant experience? Your favorite food movie? What restaurant would you want to time-travel for?

In D.C.’ very first edition, we talk to Pepe Moncayo, the executive chef and owner behind Cranes Spanish Kaiseki, who brings his Spanish background to Japan’s traditional multi-course meal.

The Resy Questionnaire

1. Favorite thing you’ve ever cooked?

I’m not able to give an answer, I just love cooking!

2. Kitchen tool or equipment you couldn’t live without?

A knife and sharpening stone.

3. What pantry items would you bring on a desert island?

Extra virgin olive oil, garlic, red onion, lemon, and chilis.

4. What’s your favorite place to get a slice in D.C.?

Let’s just say I have a weakness for American fast foods that I’m not ready to confess. I can’t help it.

5. Favorite cookbook?

Astrance: A Cook’s Book, by Pascal Barbot.

6. Your drink of choice?

Always bubbles, Champagne or Cava.

7. Favorite food movie?


8. Your ideal dinner party guests, dead or alive? 

I’m so amazed by the time between the end of World War II and the birth of the Nouvelle Cuisine, so: chefs Fernand Point, Michel Guérard, the Troisgros brothers, Alain Chapel, Olivier Rœllinger … and Frédy Girardet!

9. What restaurant industry person do you admire the most?

The women I work along. Women that are very hardworking, women that are mothers. I respect those unstoppable mothers that sustain families and deliver work performances to the highest standards.

10. The greatest restaurant experience of your life so far?

It’s between these two: Asador Etxebarri in Spain and L’Hôtel de Ville de Crissier in Switzerland, when Philippe Rochat was at the front.

11. Your greatest professional achievement?

Being able to keep afloat a big restaurant that opened five weeks before Covid-19’s full effects.

12. What single dish best describes your personality?

Anticucho [a skewer of inexpensive meat — traditionally, beef heart — found in Peru], because though it can sometimes can be tough, it’s good heart, definitely flavorful, and has humble origins.

13. If you could go back in time, which restaurant would you dine at?

El Bulli in the 90’s.

14. Your favorite meal from childhood?

My mom’s rabbit rice with artichokes.

15. Your wish for the restaurant industry?

Survival, it’s getting harder overall.

16. What do you wish you did better? What do you do well?

Better: I should study more when I have the opportunity to.

Well: I’m a good listener.

17. If you could eat through a city for a day, where would you go?


18. The one thing you can’t resist splurging on when you go out?

I don’t have that temptation …

19. What do you value most in restaurants?


20. It’s your last meal on earth, what are you eating?

I don’t know, but it’ll be in the company of my family.