Rafael Antonín (Barcelona, 65 years old) is a rara reviews in the world of Instagram and gastronomy. He has managed to add more than 552,000 followers on that social network with his 30-second recipes; is considered one of the 10 influencers gastronomic highlights in Spain, but he is not a professional chef, he does not have a restaurant and his age is far from that normally associated with new technologies. On April 7 he publishes his first cookbook, My best recipes (Planet), with a selection of its popular dishes.
Rafuel55, as he is known on Instagram, owes his name to the nickname that Cepsa gave him in the nineties, for being the one who sold the most fuel in all of Spain. “When in 2012 one of my two daughters wanted to open a profile for me on Instagram, all the names were caught. Not this one and I added the year I was born ”, explains this nice and good-natured man in the middle of the kitchen of his house, where he creates and records his recipes; a spacious room full of the common utensils in any kitchen and used in the recipes that he presents at a fast pace that have attracted so many followers.
Nothing is the result of chance. His work is calculated and he does it meticulously: “I get up at 4:30 even on Sundays. At that time, since 2012, I have posted a post daily, when America goes to sleep, and when Europe wakes up, it is already positioned ”, says someone who has become an expert in new technologies.
“I’ve been cooking since I was little. We were nine siblings and I was helping my mother. But I have studied at the Hofmann hospitality school in Barcelona a one-year course in integral cooking, another in pastry of the same duration and a third of four months in rice dishes, in addition to about 50 monographs. All as a hobby and to be able to eat well myself and those who are by my side ”. He has also studied photography. That is why his short videos are of great quality. “I usually record 15 minutes. Then I choose the fundamental and basic scenes, because you can’t peel potatoes for three minutes. There is no patience to see that, ”he says.
For him “the stoves are technique, which can be learned, but also palate, something that fails. I am a home cook who makes normal recipes with normal tools with things that are in the fridge. I don’t explain how to make spherifications, but I do explain a good fried egg; simple things that had not been explained before ”.
He admits that he likes to visit gastronomic temples recognized with Michelin stars: “Star chefs are the ones who change recipes and decant them. I do not criticize them because there is a lot of work and ideas behind it, but going to these places is not going to eat, it is living an experience ”. And he adds: “These cooks have to learn a lot, because there are none who know how to eat. They are gods and nobody tells them anything. So much paraphernalia and then in two gestures they load it all. I am outraged to pay 250 euros and have you sit on a stool. Enough of being teased. There are many things to improve; perhaps not so much in the kitchen as in the quality of the service. I hope that the pandemic will serve for that, because it will take a long time to have the visitors from before and we have to work for those from here and seat people to eat like royalty. “
He assures that he does not aspire to open a restaurant: “I have already done everything I had to do to support my family. At my age they could be playing petanque or golf, but what amuses me is cooking, recording, editing and writing recipes and, from time to time, giving a talk. What I do fills me ”.
The recipe he is most proud of is not his famous croissant omelette. “It was successful because it was not seen, but it was already invented. I prefer the truffle omelette or a shrimp broth that was much more successful. The important thing is always to use good products. If they are good, you will have to cook less ”.
Rafuel has everything thought out and chooses the dish he makes according to the season, “I will not make a few macaroni on a very hot day and I will make a gazpacho”; on the weekday, “on Mondays I always do light things because people want to make good of the weekend”, nor of the month: “There is always more money to spend on food at the beginning of the month”. He has also learned to know which dishes they like the most: “I love oysters, but you won’t see them on my channel, because 50% of people disgust them. But if a dish has cheese, prawns, avocados, Iberian ham or fried eggs, you are sure to be successful. Because it is very sad to do a job and for people to pass by. The note is put by the followers with their likes and comments ”.
Because Rafuel controls the data generated by his posts: “Behind each one there are many statistics that you have to know how to read. After 10 minutes of putting a video I know if it will work ”. Coinciding with the beginning of this interview, he published a recipe for Monkfish curry. At four minutes he had 1,500 likes. A day later more than 90,000. “Instagram has changed my life, neither for the better nor for the worse, different,” he added.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.