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Interviews
14/09/2017

"Debating between traditional and cutting-edge cuisine is absurd"

Manel González. Journalist

He's one of the most well-known personalities on Spanish TV, which is unsurprising as he's had a very productive career as a journalist.  He's worked in radio and the print media, and he currently spends every weekend covering national and international news on Telecinco.

José Ribagorda is one of Spain's greatest gastronomy reporters, and he reports on this topic from his popular blog "De las cosas del comer," the name of which was taken from his most recent book, which is now available (Planeta Gastro).

Question.- Before we begin, as a native of Galicia raised just a few kilometers from Herbón, thanks for emphasizing that the small parish should be recognized as the famous peppers' birthplace.  Do you aim to bust myths on your blog?

Answer.- On the blog I aim to defend the truth, to provide a treaty on gastronomic truths and, on certain occasions, to dispel false myths and highlight a job well done by producers and business people.

Q.- Your new book brings traditional and cutting-edge cuisine together.  Whenever you have the chance, you advocate for a balance between the two, but we have to ask: if you had to choose, which do you prefer?

A.- I'm a huge fan of both—I don't prefer one over the other.  I believe they should co-exist. In my opinion, debating between one and the other is absurd, and even counterproductive.

During times of confusion, cutting-edge cuisine can find a solid foundation and values in traditional cuisine.  At the same time, tradition should feed off of new techniques and trends which favor and improve it.

Q.- To write this book, you must have traveled extensively, talked to lots of people, etc. How have you been able to balance that with being on one of the most popular new shows on Spanish TV?

A.- By giving up a lot of my free time and spending less time with my loved ones than I would like.  I have no choice—there are only so many hours in a day.

It required a lot of hard work, but it was worth it.

Q.- You have always defended the hard work of producers.  In many segments of the industry, the low prices they receive for their products is an enormous problem.  Do you believe that enhancing the visibility of their efforts can help raise awareness among consumers?

A.- I think so.  Making consumers more aware, which is what the book seeks to do, leads to a greater appreciation of a product and a job well done.

Raising awareness about gastronomy allows people to find out about new products and to appreciate those that are particularly outstanding.  Knowledge allows people to appreciate production and a job well done.

Q.- Interest in gastronomy has increased exponentially in recent years, but some people say the market is saturated. What's your opinion?

A.- I don't see it like that.  It's trendy, but I believe it's positive because it helps popularize gastronomy, it gets people interested and they enjoy it.  It's important to remember the educational component of these types of shows; they serve not only as a distraction, but they also help develop people's palates, train their conscience in certain ways and, above all, raise awareness about gastronomy, which is very positive.

Q.- If you had to create a menu—an appetizer, entrée and dessert—from the products you talk about on your blog, what would it include?

A.- As an appetizer I would suggest crab from Noja, which is extraordinary—everyone should try it.  As an entrée I would recommend rabbit and snails from Casa Elías, which is “the landscape on a plate” in southern Alicante. For dessert, I would have some moscatelicos (small Moscatel-flavored cakes with cream and chocolate) from the Manuel Segura Museum-Bakery, in Daroca (Teruel), which has been around for three centuries.

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