Salvador Brugués – Professor at the Culinary Institute of Barcelona
Salvador Brugués is professor at the Culinary Institute of Barcelona. You never heard about that? So read here to get some more information.
Today you work as a Professor at the Culinary Institute of Barcelona. Tell us the story of your career start as a cook. Why did you decide for the cook job?
I was born in a family devoted to hospitality as my parents owned a hotel. Even when I was very young, cuisine was a very important part in my life. In the kitchen of the hotel, we would eat, talk, do our homework, cry….therefore, I guess my future was meant to be in a kitchen too.
What surprised you most about once you started to become a cook?
I studied cooking in the Culinary School of Girona and, since the moment I started, I got a whole new perspective of cuisine, as everything I was learning was very different from my mother’s cooking. At home, women were in charge of the kitchen (my mom, my grandmother, a female cook we used to have in our team…). And then, everything was so new for me…I felt completely lost. Also, I only knew traditional Catalan cuisine but, at that time, in my school it was very important to learn about Spanish Cuisine from each region and about international cuisine too.
What is the best part of being a chef?
Sharing, creating, constantly learning…this is what I enjoy the most, there are always so many things to learn, you can always improve!
How are cooks considered in Spain’s society today and in the past?
It has changed so much! When I started as a cook, this profession was not attractive for the majority of people… I would even say it was somehow “not well considered”. On the contrary, nowadays it’s a very popular job and being a cook is “in fashion”; I would even say it has become too popular. People look at the chefs as rock stars and many students enroll in culinary schools thinking that they will become a famous chef right away… and the truth is that it is very difficult to achieve that (and even more difficult to achieve it fast).
What fascinates you in the culinary education profession?
I feel very lucky as I love cooking and I love teaching. Being able to do both is a privilege for me. Right now I feel I am at my best moment of my life as the experience of all these years gave me a lot of knowledge, energy and empathy. Right now I am really aware that how I do my job is very important for the future of my students.
You are a specialist in low temperature cooking. What is your experience in this area?
During the last 20 years, everyday I have been trying to learn something about low temperature cooking. Together with Joan Roca, we studied it and I think that we have contributed to evolve this technique. Even though for many years we focused on sous vide cooking, today we know that the real key is understanding low temperature cooking.
You are as well Co-author of 3 cook books. What are they about?
Together with Joan Roca, we wrote 3 books and, actually, our fourth book is about to be released. I think that writing books allow us to explain what we are doing or what we are intending to do. Probably, our first book “Sous Vide Cooking (2003)” was the most difficult book we have ever written for its complexity and depth and because it was written for the professional reader in mind. After that, our others books were focused towards the home cook, trying to explain general cooking techniques (2014) and also, starting the path for low temperature cooking to arrive at the households (2016).
How would you describe your own culinary line today?
I like honest cuisine, simple cooking that respects the product and takes care of the people. I truly believe that most of the cooking from today should start thinking of tomorrow and, therefore, move toward sustainability. We should appreciate local products, take care of food and make the most of it as our parents taught us and make sure we do not forget our roots.
Looking back at your chef career so far; what regrets do you have? What would you do differently?
OMG, if I could go back in time and start culinary school again, I would try to get the most of every second there!
How did your chef career change your person?
I must say that when I was young, I was very shy (I am still now!) and not a very social person. Right now, I love learning new things, talking to people, discussing and sharing with others. Cooking helped me discover a new perspective of the world.
What chefs have had the most influence on you?
Without any doubt, working with Joan Roca left a mark on me. We have been friends since we were 14 and, looking back, I realize that I have spent a very important part of my life discussing cooking with him, as cooks, as colleagues and as friends.
Having said that, I must recognize that “the cooks of my life” have been my grandmother (iaia Sita), La Molinera (an amazing cook who worked with us and was almost a third grandma for me) and my mother. From the three of them, my mother is who had the most influence on me. She was an extraordinary person, always happy, incredibly generous, always took care of us… She transmitted to me her love for cooking and, at the end, she taught me that cooking is sharing love.
Thank you Salvador Brugués.
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