Roberto Martínez Foronda (Tripea), the chef who was inspired by Dalí’s artwork to make ceviche
The chef Roberto Martínez Foronda has narrated without words the story of the painting of the genius Salvador Dalí “Dream caused by the flight of a bee around a grenade a second before the awakening” making “Ceviche de Gala”.
An initiative that was born from the Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum that always shows great interest in cooking. Including Robert, they selected 25 of the best Spanish chefs such as Diego Guerrero, Quique Dacosta, Martin Berasategui, Juan Mari and Elena Arzak, Paco Torreblanca and others, to tour the room and choose a painting that inspires them to create a dish. The objective was the publication of the recipe book “Thyssen al plato”, a very literal name for the cause.
Although Roberto does not feel like an artist, but an artisan he has achieved a very accurate interpretation, for which he has been chosen to appear on the cover of the book and has managed to capture something that every good artist does, the soul of his Peruvian-Asian cuisine in his work.
You can find chef Roberto Martínez Foronda in his restaurant Tripea, in the old Vallehermoso market, in Chamberí neighborhood in Madrid. Maybe one day he surprise us with this dish dalilesco in his menu?
By Fabiola Gálvez
There were 25 chefs who participated in the creation of the book “Thyssen al plato”. How was that dynamic?
It was a project that started by the store manager of Thyssen. Together with her team, they decided to make a collaboration oriented towards gastronomy, with a line of products “DelicaThyssen”, the name is a conjunction of words, in the store of the Museum. So they wanted to make a book of recipes but bringing together famous people to do something different, focus on Spain. This is national but I think it will be distributed internationally. The idea goes in that direction. They called me because the director was a very good client here and she came to Tripea and she proposed it to me.
Why is the museum interested in gastronomy?
I do not know if there will be an objective but it is true that within the museum, there are several artworks related to gastronomy and a tour was created around several paintings about gastronomy. I think it also goes because cooking is art, it’s that union that considers a chef to be an artist as a painter, to a certain extent, we can consider ourselves to be artists. And I think it’s also because gastronomy is raising and there is no museum that has done an equal work in book format, it was the opportunity to do it.
Then, each chef chose an artwork from the Thyssen Museum?
Yes and from there, you chose and developed it around the history of the painting, the texture, the colors, what it would be to represent the painting itself, that was free exposure after all, you had to create something that simulate the artwork itself otherwise it is uninteresting.
And what was the painting you chose?
“Dream caused by the flight of a bee around a grenade a second before the awakening” by Salvador Dalí.
Was it because of something special that you chose for this work?
I chose it because of the color it had and especially for what it represented and then, i was studying a little more about the painting, it made more sense, I honestly did it for that. It caught my attention first and the story is that the painting at this time was not in the museum, it was requested and I thought I was not going to be able to use it and in the end they said yes, because it belongs to Thyssen himself. Besides, he was a Spanish painter, I liked it a lot and it is a super recognized painting.
Could you explain us about your interpretation “Ceviche de Gala”?
What you see in the painting is the figure of Gala and it is part of a dream that Dalí had and I tried to represent it as the way he had seen it. And what we wanted to do is give a lot of importance to Gala, in that context and we represented it with a ceviche.
In the sense of undress the body like ceviche itself, raw, without skin, without anything, which is how she is shown in the painting, naked. Then, the idea of the tigers is represented with thin layers of sweet potato in the shape of a tiger and the lines of its back are made with squid ink. Then, we put the tiger milk of pomegranate because there are also pomegranates, there. The elephant has spider legs, and what we did was to add tobiko, which are the roe of the flying fish around the spider, and black garlic honey, because there are also bees, which is the way to represent the sweetness of honey.
How long did this creation take you?
I do not know if it was so much because It came very quick and I saw it very clearly.
To develop it, while I was seeing, thinking, researching, a month.
Could this dish be replicated in your restaurant?
Yes, of course it could.
Was the dish you performed chosen as the cover of the book?
Yes, I did not expect it at all, with so much famous names there what you least expect is to be on the cover, and it was the organization which made that choice.
Any anecdote that has happened to you with this experience?
Well, I did not expect to be on the cover and as I said, the artwork, that was the case, that was not in the museum but I had seen it before, because I got into the Thyssen web and I was looking at it. I was also talking to my father and it was like everything was destined but it did not happen, I looked for it all over the museum and it was not to be found. And then I was overwhelmed and I thought, now what do I do? But it is already in the museum, what had happened is that it had been temporarily given to another art gallery but the painting belongs to Thyssen.
Now more than ever you would say that gastronomy is art and viceversa?
Yes, I consider that it has art but also the gastronomy has caught a very strange rise, as I always say about cooking, we have cooked thousands of years ago, it seems that we are now rock stars.
Now, it is becoming more important, yes, it seems that there is a large part of art but I do not consider that everything is so artistic as a whole. What influences on you and what inspires you is to travel, to see a painting and to represent it on a plate of food, I think it has something to do with it but I believe that the daily life of a chef is as artisan more than an artist, perhaps more than of the artist is in the previous preparation as if you have to develop a tasting menu and think about it and prepare it because the creativity part is used a lot but we are more artisans.
Thank you very much, Chef Roberto!
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