What is an executive chef?
It is the person who manages the entire external environment. The management of purchases, of people, but also who watches over the philosophy and values that govern the house. He is the person in charge who coordinates and directs everything that happens in the kitchens.
He is the head of the chefs. People who are very popular today, appear in the newspapers and who move great influences on the networks. It must be complicated, right?
Yes, but there are several ways to do it. You have to accompany more than send. Because they are leaders in their kitchens and I cannot go in here and discredit them. I have to set the guidelines and be aware, and talk a lot with them. That’s the hard part.
«If you work for Quique, you know that not everything is worth it. If you create something, be it a concept or a dish, it has to be the best to match it »
It is, to a certain extent, the executing arm of Quique’s ideas. Not tempted to enter your signature?
Is that I inevitably have the DNA of Dénia, so it’s very easy for me to do it. In any case, what it is about is not that I impose a dish or launch an idea, but rather to create a synergy with restaurants to meet certain objectives. If you decide to open a Peruvian restaurant or bar, then organize to invest a certain percentage of my day during a certain time to achieve the goal.
Isn’t it sad to always be in the shadow of your companions?
I’ve never wanted fame, so it never frustrates me to be in the shadows. I like what I do and I count on being in a structure full of talents in which I am one of the others. And my position has things that I like a lot, like traveling with Quique and learning continuously.
Which of the openings has been the toughest?
Flora, fauna and spring. For the coup this year. We have suffered the blow in all the restaurants but the one that has taken us ahead is that. And that he has taken it forward without even knowing if you have done it well or not is very hard. We continue with the catering but not in our own space like that.
Do you have any favorite children?
They are all different, but the pretty daughter is Smooth Black.
Because it is not the same to cook at a low temperature than on the grill, or a rice in two cooks than a paella over a wood fire. It is a constant challenge and a very lively kitchen.
What is the key to success?
The key is to know that the most important thing is not the kitchen. If within the structure we are not all coordinated, it does not matter how well you cook. For this, Quique’s work is fundamental because it values both the kitchen, the living room and the management.
«The most important thing is not the kitchen. If we are not all coordinated within the structure, it doesn’t matter how well you cook »
What is left of you in each restaurant when you launch it?
Inevitably a great personal sacrifice. But I learned from someone that the important thing is that the time I spend with my son is of quality, and that helps me.
Who is Juanfra Valiente?
My reference. The person who best manages what I just said. He could be the boss of everything but he has a way of telling anyone “let’s go together.” I look at him how he works and his creative ability amazes me.
Quique Dacosta It has the best kitchen team in Spain. How do you retain so much talent?
It is easy to sign. He knows what you need and he listens to you. For example, he knows that the most important thing is my family and when he needed me in Dénia for a month he told me, “Bring your family and you all come to my house to live.” That way you can’t say no to him.
Quique has a reputation for being very demanding. Do you feel the pressure of the position?
Of course. If you work for Quique, you know that not everything is worth it. If you generate something, be it a concept or a dish, it has to be the best to be up to it. But my self-demand is greater than yours.
What is beautiful and ugly about your position?
Nice … that if you let your skin you want to win. And this is a winning team. The ugly, without a doubt, the pressure and that everything you do has a lot of visibility and that means that you can never go wrong.
Can you maintain a constant personality in concepts as different as El Poblet and Mercatbar?
Yes. But beware, the last time I was with Quique he told me: «Everything always evolves. Look now, we’re in Llisa Negra and it’s full of boxes for him. delivery. You have to always be vigilant and evolve ».
And when you are at home, what cuisine seduces you?
The product, the embers, the rice …
What does a person as discreet as you think of the circus of vanities that gastronomy is becoming?
Each one plays his role, and at the level of communication or telling things there also has to be someone who does it. Many times there are players who are more media than good, but most of the ones that exist are good. It is true that now everything is very media, but people like it. Gastronomy is very fashionable, but speaking well of a cook is good. The faranduleo and what happens behind…. anyway.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.