Carolina Sanchez, the Ecuadorian chef who was awarded a few weeks ago with the Michel instar, lives the dream of her life that began as a little girl in her native Cuenca, in family kitchens.
Sánchez shares with his partner Iñaki Murúa the Ikaro restaurant, which operates in theSpanish city of Logroño, south of Bilbao, and summarizes the names of both.
“Since I was little I used to cook sweets, I asked my mother to make desserts all the time and also my grandmothers, who are great cooks. When I had to choose what I wanted to study, I realized that what I loved was the kitchen and I wanted to learn to cook the salty part that was unknown to me, “she says. Now she moves well in both, although she admits that the bakery loves her and always gives her more affection.
She has not stopped preparing since she began studying for a degree in Gastronomy at the University of Cuenca. Afterwards, she took a master’s degree in Peruvian Cooking at Cordon Bleu in Peru and finally a master’s degree in Cooking,Technique and Product at the Basque Culinary Center in San Sebastián, Spain.
Viae-mail, Carolina answered a questionnaire sent by Diario EL UNIVERSO, in which she recounted the day to day of her work in the kitchen.
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Q:Does Spanish food blend well with Ecuadorian food?
A: I think so, what must be found is the point of equilibrium and knowing how toplay by combining the products found in Spain with Ecuadorian recipes.
Q:Can Ecuadorian cuisine become gourmet?
A:Yes, totally. Ecuadorian cuisine has an incredible richness, it only takes the national chefs to give more value to the products we have and using different current techniques to take it one step further. I think that many chefs are already doing that and little by little they will do it more, and that makes me very excited.
Q:How difficult is it to get the products to recreate the food of your memories?
A:We are lucky to have a supplier that imports Latin products and that is where we get the most. We bring it from Ecuador, from a small chocolate factory in Cuenca, for example, a handmade chocolate made from 100% cocoa.
Q:How is a normal work day?
A:We go (Iñaki and I) very soon in the morning and we dedicate ourselves to do the production for the service with the rest of the team. He is dedicated to the departure of meats and fish and I dedicate myself to help the rest of the cooks and to make some more complicated elaborations, as, for example, now that we make a burrata cheese stuffed with an avocado cream and white chocolate.
At2:00 pm, the service starts at the restaurant, which lasts until 5:30 or 6:00p.m. I go to each table to greet the client when they have finished eating and ask them about the experience.
Then we rest a little before returning to the restaurant for the evening service that starts at 9:00 p.m. until the clients leave the premises. About thees sence of her restaurant, Carolina commented in a recent interview to a Spanish media: We are the two of us, the city we are in, we try to make a personal kitchen in which we show our experiences. We try to offer quality to the customer and we have opted for that type of business. It is our main premise, that the client goes and comes back.
In Ikaro you are betting on a ‘personalized kitchen’
Carolina tells us that in order to reward them, the judges are based on the restaurant working with first quality products, an evident fineness in the preparation,marked flavors and a remarkable regularity in the preparation of the dishes.
Having achieved a Michelin star is for Iñaki and Carolina a dream come true.”It’s a recognition we dreamed of having someday, but we did not think it would come like that all of a sudden. It is also a big responsibility because the guide has given us their trust and has bet for us. “
Iñaki and Carolina received their award in Lisbon last week and on their return to Logroño they shared their happiness with their work team which now has eight employees.
At the same time that the restaurant service happens every day, both cooks are still working, divide their time with training with other cooks, with whom they share secrets and food.
“We are the two of us, the city where we are, we try to make a personal kitchen in which we show our experiences. We try to offer quality to the client and we have opted for that type of business, “she told Spanish media. (I)