Wednesday, August 5, 2020

“I was never interested in cooking until I saw a course ad at 17”

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Javier Peña (Valladolid, 41 years old) has never been “very fond of recipes”, but every day from Monday to Friday from 1 pm on La 1 on TVE he explains how to carry out his “canallita” style of gastronomy. “If it tastes good to you, that’s the best recipe”, he says with a laugh, and just before getting into the van, the chef, who presents with Tamara Falcó, winner of the last edition of ‘MasterChef Celebrity’, ‘ Cook to the point with Peña and Tamara ‘.

– Were you surprised when they told you that you were going to present a program with Tamara Falcó?

-Well, I think you can imagine my surprise (laughs). I knew Tamara absolutely nothing, except from magazines and ‘MasterChef’, and almost not even that, because I do not consume that type of press. So it was with surprise, of course. And a lot.

-What is it like to share a screen with her?

-Tamara is a very open person who immediately engages in conversation with anyone. She has a very good predisposition to learn, and, in addition to being something she likes, such as cooking and gastronomy, the atmosphere is very relaxed and very relaxed.

-Is your interest in cooking come from always?

-I was never interested in cooking until I was 17, skipping classes, that’s how I say it (laughs), I saw an advertisement in the newspaper for a cooking course. I decided to sign up, and until today. I fall in love.

– Do you miss being able to travel?

-Yes Yes. I always miss him. Also, we were halfway through the third season of ‘Eat the World’. A little less, even, because we still have eight countries to finish recording. And of course, during confinement I have missed him. The pace of work, travel and getting to know things is missed. The recording of this program is being harder than that of ‘Eat the world’ (laughs).

-Has harder to travel the planet looking for recipes?

-Yes, because everything has been a little hasty and we are going with the most just times. TVE warned us in due time. The program has a section in which I travel in Spain, and it must be recorded, obviously. We try to do our best, and it is difficult to be traveling three days, in which we get a good beating, every week, and then take all the products and make the recipes on set.

-Then, do you want to record again outside of Spain?

-Yes Yes Yes. Obviously ‘Eat the world’ is my program, like who says. In the end, it is a bit of the essence of Peña traveling, and of course I really want to take it up again. I hope to do at least a couple more seasons.

-What have you incorporated from other countries into your usual recipes?

-In my daily recipes there are many techniques and a lot of flavors from other countries, and a lot of traveling and street culture too. All this is getting into the library of the head and some recipes are emerging that I have called ‘canallitas’.

-And is that style chandelier innate or was there evolution?

-There was an evolution. I have always liked to break that wall that exists between the cook and the people who do not understand, and make it as simple and understandable as possible. That street world that gives us so much in terms of flavor is sometimes unidentified, and I try to lean heavily on that type of food.

-If you hadn’t been a cook, do you know where it would have ended?

-If I’m honest, no fucking idea. I always say that I would have loved to be a musician.

-But did you try?

-Well, at 17, things are not very clear either. You are there, yes, no, you can like this or that. What I was clear about was that I was not going to be in an office (laughs).

-How has this health crisis affected you professionally, which has particularly shaken the culinary sector and establishments?

-Well, with the closure of the two stores. Now, thank God, I have one of them open, but it’s affecting us a lot. We are constantly balancing, because squaring the boxes to pay everyone is not being easy, people are still very scared.

-It’s being difficult.

-Yes, of course, it is a bit of a headache, but well, luckily this program has also arrived, and it entertains me enough not to remember all these daily problems that we have many times. Although sometimes it affects being on recording and having problems in a restaurant, of course.

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