20 July 2014
Three consecutive titles. A record, just like Juve's over the last three years. Unlike Juve, Luis Pedro Montoya's success was not earned on a football pitch, but rather at the grill. Together with his team of friends, he won Guatemala’s national barbecue competition from 2011 to 2013. And he's done it in the name of the Vecchia Signora, wearing the shirt of this favourite team.
In addition to being an excellent cook, Luis, 30 years old from Guatemala City, is a passionate Bianconeri fan. He began supporting Juve as a youngster, along with his brother Juan José and his closest friends Jorge and Juan Luis. Back then they were spellbound by the skills of Roberto Baggio, later it was Alessandro Del Piero.
"In recent years I’ve become passionate about barbecue in the same way I am about Juventus. We fire up the grill at someone’s house every time the team plays," Luis Pedro explained.
As a result, these amigos became experts on steaks, ribs, chicken breasts and hamburgers. In 2011 they came up with the rather crazy idea of entering the BBQ Challenge, sponsored by the local Rotary Club. Crazy because they were still quite short on experience. This is the competition for the best grill masters in Guatemala. And every year dozens of them meet in the capital of the Central American nation to challenge each other amid the flames, meat and spicy sauces.
Luis Pedro's team wanted to be a bit different, though. So to give themselves greater motivation and stand out from the crowd they all decided to don the Juventus shirt. "We chose the black one and it gave us a tremendous boost," said Luis Pedro. With a shirt like that, there could only be one winner!
Luis Pedro, his brother, Jorge and Juan Luis received the highest points from the judges. The cooking of the meat, the variety of recipes, aroma and presentation. All superb. Just like Juventus. "We won a cash prize and a new grill with all the utensils." It was a triumph that allowed Luis’ team to take their game even higher. So much so that the "Bianconeri" of Guatemala City repeated the feat in 2012 and 2013.
The last "BBQ Scudetto" was the prelude to a dream being realised: the opening of a restaurant. In 2013 Luis Pedro and his brother inaugurated the Pepe Joe Grill, naturally specialising in meats.
"Our restaurant has become the official meeting point for Juventus fans in Guatemala," Luis Pedro said proudly. "Now they all come here to watch the matches. The first one we showed was Juventus v Sassuolo from last December." And hanging up behind the counter two flags are proudly displayed: those of the Bianconeri and Italy.
The Montoya family have even paid tribute to Juventus in their menu. It’s not a speciality from the grill but a dessert: "The Bianconero" consists of vanilla ice cream with brownies.
After three years of victories and success, Luis Pedro paid homage in person to the Italian champions. In April, as a Premium International Member, he was chosen to take part in "Fly to Turin".
Hosted by Juventus, he spent an unforgettable weekend in Turin with his girlfriend Monica. And after the match against Bologna he met the players: photos and smiles around.
Obviously there’s a certain understanding among champions.