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Christchurch Less Stressed – Spanish Chef


ALBERT ALERT: Decided to be a professional cook at age 16.

Daniel Tobin

ALBERT ALERT: Decided to be a professional cook at age 16.

Albert Alert is the latest Spanish import to the Maison du Conservateur where wines and food from Spain are a unique feature.

When restaurant owner Javier Garcia wanted to extend Spanish dishes to the curator’s house, he asked a friend in Spain who “knows everyone in the hotel business” if he knew a good chef who loved to travel and could be interested in working in a Spanish themed restaurant. restaurant in New Zealand.

Alert was approached and two months ago he and his wife, Zoe, arrived in Christchurch and the chef joined the curator’s house team.

A new menu has been developed to embrace the deep-flavored, simmered broths and sauces that are the backbone of traditional Alert dishes.

Why a career as a chef?

I remember being a teenager helping my mom cook. At the age of 16, I decided to become a professional cook and started my studies at the Escuela Oficial de Turismo y Hosteleria de Barcelona.

You will never be without. . .

I must always have olive oil, onions, tomatoes, wine and good quality meat or fish. Vegetables are especially important because they not only complement but also define the dish.

Spanish, French, Italian, Asian?

To cook . . . I prefer Spanish and Mediterranean cuisine with its natural and seasonal products.

To eat . . . I like to try a bit of everything, from all over the world. But in the rush these days, I’m going to go for something easy to do. One of my favorite moments is enjoying a pa amb tomaquet. This is Catalan for bread and tomato. It’s a simple, yet delicious thing: A slice of good bread, spread with tomato and olive oil and toast. I could add cheese, or Iberian ham, or any traditional cold cuts.

Two months in New Zealand, what are you missing?

My family and friends, of course.

And discovered?

A city full of amazing people who are kind and ready to help. People are positive and you don’t see the high level of stress you can find in Europe, for example. I was also surprised by the number of immigrants. I haven’t traveled across the country yet, but just waiting for beauty.

While you are here, you would like. . .

Share the concept and culture of Spanish cuisine and tapas. In Spain, we usually eat a three-course meal – tapas or salad, or soup, followed by a main course, then dessert, but we also share tapas over a drink with friends.

Tapas are small portions that took a long time to create and cook. It’s a traditional slow cooking, every bite is full of flavor and there is something to satisfy and enjoy.

I like when a plate comes back [to the kitchen] clean – there is nothing left. Not only did the diners enjoy the food, it means we didn’t waste resources.

We have to be responsible for what we put on the plate to avoid waste. Along with tapas, there is enough in every tasty serving to satisfy.

And wine with that?

I like to share my favorite wine from my region. Vilarnau cava comes from a small winery near where I live and is now on Curator’s wine list.

What was the last meal you cooked at home?

Roast chicken and tortilla de potata for my wife, because she loves it.

If you could change one thing?

I should have learned English !!


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