Twenty years with a passion for cooking
I’ve spent my whole life dedicated to my great passion, cooking. I am 36 years old and, together with the partners of Grupo Lancaster, I am responsible for six establishments, all of them in Castelldefels, where I have lived since I was eight years old. This is where I grew up as a chef.
My family, my partner, a good many of my friends, my passion for nature and seasonal products are all concentrated here, so close to the city of Barcelona. My father and my sister are behind the reason I took up at the burners.
Thanks to them, I trained at l’Escola d’Hostalatge i Restauració de Barcelona (Barcelona Hospitality and Catering School). There, little-by-little, I tried all kinds of ingredients and got used to being around the burners.
Learning with the best
The Gran Hotel Rey Don Jaime at Castelldefels was the place where I completed my work experience when I came of age. Later, I had the immense fortune of learning from the best chefs in the world. In Donosti, I worked at Arzak restaurant, with three Michelin Stars, together with the prestigious Juan Mari Arzak. Later, I returned home to spend three months at the Hotel Playafels and at 26 landed at Dos Mas, the first restaurant where I was head chef. Later, I grew up at El Bulli beside Ferran Adrià and also at the Celler de Can Roca, both of which have three Michelin Stars.
From teacher to business-owner
One of my greatest moments of professional achievement came when I was 27 years old, when I became a professor at the Escola d’Hostaleria de Castelldefels, which was a great challenge for me because of the responsibility that teaching the future generations entails. When I left school, I had changed. It was then that I noticed a bank poster and I didn’t think about it: I went to ask for money to start my business and together with my partners, I founded Grupo Lancaster, whose first fruit was the Lancaster Events company.
After this first incursion into gastronomic management, I headed up the Lancaster Beach Club restaurant, located in the Áccura de Gavà Mar sports centre.
There, not without effort, I worked in the traditional kitchen on healthy menus for athletes. My work there was like an ant: little-by-little I achieved my goals.
In 2010 the opportunity arose to start a project on the seafront, stepping on the sand, with a playful and lively kitchen: a fun and beloved place on our beaches. This is how the Carita Morena beach bar was born, on the Passeig Marítim de Castelldefels, which is a landmark in the town today. Five years later, the El Mosquito beach bar appeared, located on the only natural beach at Baix Llobregat, in Viladecans.
Casanova Beach Club: the origin of my fusion cuisine
In 2014 came my biggest challenge to date: founding a restaurant whose fame has transcended this city; a new project in which I had many expectations, and in which I merged three types of cuisine. The Casanova Beach Club was the first restaurant on the Castelldefels seafront. Today it employs 60 workers and is open 365 days a year. Here, diners can enjoy our menu and then bathe in the pool, have a drink and even enjoy live performances. Today we can proudly say that the Casanova has crossed borders, welcoming customers from all over the world.
It was at the Casanova Beach Club that I was able to give free rein to fusion cuisine, a style I find that I am comfortable with and that is the result of everything I saw and learned during my tour around the world in 2015. Those moments in Thailand, Bali and Australia have marked my way of cooking a lot, and today I really enjoy surprising my guests with the fusion of flavours from Asia and the Mediterranean; with flavours from different parts of the world.
However, I have maintained my love for local cuisine, largely thanks to my parents’ hometown, Salvacañete, in Cuenca, with only 300 inhabitants, where I was instilled with respect for nature since I was young. I used to go out with my grandmother to look for mushrooms, a childhood hobby that I still keep and a place I always like to come back to. When I’m not there, I work day-after-day to make diners’ experiences unique, with an eye on the opportunities that the future beholds.