The ELLE Decoration team looks at beautiful things 24/7 and are self-proclaimed Instagram addicts – so we are well aware of the people who are getting it right and making us tick! With over 84K followers on Instagram, we spoke to our latest InstaCrush Gabriel Cabrera, also known as The Artful Desperado.

Officially, Gabriel Cabrera is known as a Stylist and Photographer, but we’re willing to stretch that title to include Beguiling Blogger, Gourmet Guru and Man of the Moment. And did we mention his wit? He has quite the charm and we’re almost certain you will enjoy getting to know him as much as we did…

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It’s non-stop bold and beautiful here, from ice cream to cocktails.

What’s it like to have over 84K followers on Instagram and what’s the secret?
The secret is to be yourself. It sounds obvious, but a lot of people forget to stay true to their style. Whether you like dark and moody scenes or bright, full colour – go for it! Don’t stick to what you’ve seen others doing. I am so thankful that I’m able to connect with so many people that like what I do and support my work. Seeing my followers being inspired by my work and trying my recipes is so awesome.

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The man himself – where vision and passion collide

The Artful Desperado is a serious feast! What’s your favourite and why the fascination?
No matter where you are from, what you believe in, or who you love – we can all sit down and enjoy a meal.  I love how food brings people together. My current favourite is a dairy free super fudgey ice cream I made, swirled with tayberries (a mix of blackberries and raspberries). It was so chunky you could literally bite into it.

What do you miss about home?
I was born in Mexico City (a huge, awesome, chaotic, beautiful city) and I do miss the food quite a lot. I love eating things from all over the globe, but Mexican food to me feels like a cuddly hug, you know? When I’m stressed I crave tacos, when I’m happy I want to drink a margarita, super cliched but so true! We do have Mexican food here in Vancouver, but it ain’t the real deal.

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For the globe-trotters out there – what restaurants need to be on our bucket lists?
Without a doubt Höst in Copenhagen; I had one of the most memorable meals of my life there. Also, Pujol in Mexico City is incredible, they’ve taken Mexican food to a whole new level!

Which designers are on your radar?
I am currently following Studio Neon – they have amazing ideas for events and styling; Genevieve Felix Reynolds – an artist whose work is great for pattern and colour inspiration; and Diana Dontsova who’s awesome with food styling. But my all-time favourites are Charles and Ray Eames of course! And Issey Miyake – if I could have a house full of their stuff I’d be a happy man. Not a lot to ask, right?!

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The Artful Desperado is full of foodie hacks – our favourite is on the right: Hibiscus yogurt (dairy-free) with warm peaches, honey and pistachios.

The table is set, who is coming to dinner and what are you serving?
The Barefoot Contessa (Ina Garten), Nigella Lawson, and Shirley Manson from the band Garbage (she’s such a badass and my teenage years muse). I think we would have a mix of Spanish fare – little nibbly things like chorizo, olives, cheeses, amazing bread – LOTS of wine, and I would get Nigella to help me make a chocolate mousse with bourbon and caramel sauce for dessert. I get goosebumps just to think of it!

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Brunch in a glass! Try the green Caesar (right): Arugula, greens, tomato juice, lime juice, and spices. It’s savoury, tangy, and optionally alcohol-free.

We can only imagine that your home is idyllic?
I like my apartment a lot but it’s by no means anything crazy special. My house is cozy-modern, there’s a lot of white and I try to keep it nice and tidy, which never lasts with my piles of props and mood boards for clients! It’s similar with food – people may think ‘oh man you must cook crazy fantastic meals everyday’ and nope, a lot of times it’s pizza and leftovers!

Now we just have to work on the plan to get this Artful Desperado to South Africa! Challenge accepted.


Like what you see? Follow The Artful Desperado for non-stop inspiration
The Artful Desperado | @artfuldesperadofacebook.com/ArtfulDesperado

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 The Africa Issue is a celebration of the future of design in Africa and its potential to drive change. We explore the concept of ‘Africaness’, what this means for our aesthetic. We also  dream big with bedroom inspiration and take you on a tour of homes that truly embrace the spirit of the continent. Pick up your copy today and tell us what you think on Twitter @Elle_Deco using #AfricaIssue.