Gema Boiza. Journalist @GemaBoiza
Chef and entrepreneur Senén González has taken his version of the Spanish omelet one step further with the Spanish Burger, giving one of the cornerstones of national gastronomy a hamburger shape. The chef also recently opened a service counter at the Gourmet Experience food court, inside El Corte Inglés on Goya Street, in Madrid. He to eventually open additional service counters in other department stores, airports and stations, segue into the hospitality and retail sectors, and eventually conquer the rest of the world.
González, who received Spain's Best Spanish Omelet Award in 2010, told Wikispanishfood.com that his Spanish Burger is "an omelet shaped like a hamburger patty, but in this case it's a veggie burger".
"I'm looking for bread which doesn't steal the show from the omelet", says González, who also owns Sagartoki restaurant in Vitoria-Gasteiz, which was named Best Tapas and Pinchos Bar in Spain in 2005, 2006 and 2007. Today those tapas also include the Spanish Burger, which the chef created in his kitchen/laboratory in Vitoria.
This new creation was inspired in what has come to be known as Senén's Spanish Omelet (the first gourmet frozen omelet), which the chef leveraged to open a stall in San Miguel Market (though he left in May).The Spanish omelet burger comprises two parts, and the customer can "personalize it to his liking, adding preferred ingredients and sauces".
Presented at the Millesime Madrid 2013 fair, where Senén's Spanish Omelet was named the Best in Spain, the Spanish Burger was created to please palates both at home and abroad; however, he won't focus on internationalization until his spot in the Gourmet Experience—designed by Alfaro Manrique—is up and running, says the chef.
This opportunity on Goya Street could lead to additional ones at other El Corte Inglés stores as well as at food markets, which have multiplied in recent years, especially in Madrid and Barcelona. In fact, González already has experience serving his creations at the San Miguel and San Antón Markets, both in Madrid.
"The idea is to open more service counters like the one at the Goya store and sell the Spanish Burger at retail chains and throughout the hospitality segment, where each locale can serve it with a range of ingredients." The chef has already organized tastings with both segments, which could lead to the sale of his veggie burgers at El Corte Inglés supermarkets.
González also believes that there will be demand for the Spanish Burger beyond Spain's borders, mainly in Europe. With regard to internationalizing his burger, the chef highlights that "the most important aspect is having control over the product", which should be no problem in this case, as the Spanish Burger is small and weighs 180 grams. His creation "is easier to manage outside Spain than the typical Spanish omelet. Other countries don't have the custom we have here of flipping the omelet, which is something of a ritual", he adds.
Despite the Spanish Burger's possibilities, the chef remains cautious: "Before entering other countries, it's important to look at logistics costs and each country's heath requirements".
González also has another other project. Following a fire last December 24th at his Sagartoki steakhouse, which he has been running for more than 15 years, the plan is to convert it exclusively into a tapas and pinchos bar.