In Mexico, the chef ferdinand stoveHe has made himself known massively in the program kitchen master; however, behind the character who gave his comments to the participants, there is a great story.
As a child he became passionate about cooking when his mother, of British origin, organized events, and he hid to make truffles; With the passage of time, life led him to prepare himself to such an extent that his dishes have been served to royalty, since the Queen Isabel has been a diner of their preparations.
In London, his restaurant stovesHe has attested to his sensitivity as a cook, where the art that he nurtured with his study has led him to international recognition.
Now after having overcome covid; the lover and admirer of Mexican cuisine, of which he is proud, “for the richness that distinguishes it”; he seeks to project it on a large scale, through a project that he works on; which, although it does not have the scope that he found in the reality show MasterChef, does guarantee significant diffusion.
What comes after the pandemic?
There is a project, I am talking with several investors because I want to open a place in Mexico, similar to the one I have in London. Plus, he just had an amazing interview with one of the chefs, Heston Marc Blumenthal, owner of fat duck (The chubby duck), which has had a great history in 30 years, which for many years became the competition of another chef, also very famous, named Ferrán Adriá, from the restaurant Bully; and they opened a podcast in the UK and they want me to become the ambassador of Mexican food there; which has me very excited, because although not many people will listen to it, compared to what I’m used to, for example in MasterChef which is 8 or 6 million people; yes, we can do something very interesting because Mexico is one of the most important culinary countries in the world, and being able to talk about it is very nice”.
You have cooked for Queen Elizabeth for very important people, what is the feeling you have about those experiences and what is the feeling, once you have seen the result, is it different to cook for a person who does not have that kind of hierarchy?
A totally humble answer is that we are all the same, we are all human beings, the difference between high profile people and ordinary people, like all of us, is that we all have a different palate; Well, it’s not really a difference, it’s a similarity. The palate is a bit more technical. We all have a file in the brain, and we are a computer, so the things we like the most, one of them or the most important, is to breathe, which are the lungs; and eating, which is not only a tool to be able to survive, but it is a tool for taste, and emotional taste of all the senses, we have textures, flavors, but all of that is focused on the brain, it is the most important file that records everything .
Nowadays we eat with our eyes, instead of really eating with our mouth, we see something and we think that it is going to taste like talcum powder and automatically the brain registers it. According to the question, everything is based on nostalgia, on the emotional, and it has a lot to do with the weather, the place where you are eating it; So, what do I feel when they try one of my dishes? I always feel emotion, but not only for the fact of cooking for someone important, but also for being able to see the product. The product has a natural cycle, which is from the beginning to the end, thinking about who is going to put the seed or who is going to cross this cycle from the beginning until the hands of the cook arrive, until the cook produces, and the customer try it, it’s a very emotional process. Obviously I don’t see the process from the beginning, but from when it arrives at my table in the kitchen until the customer eats it, and I can say that it is a very nice feeling. It’s always very exciting to cook for anyone, not just high-profile people.
Gastronomy took a very important boom, now there are television programs, channels that are dedicated to gastronomy, how do you see that relationship, how much has it helped that industry?
The profession has been transformed, many people have been interested in my knowledge, but not only do they want to learn from me, but they want to become chefs because they think they are going to be the next television stars, but it really is a very dedicated profession, very killed, and it is considered an art.
“And seeing so many television programs is very emotional, it is exciting for me to see so many talented chefs, like my colleagues here in Mexico; obviously, those that present MasterChef. I believe that the programs themselves and gastronomy in general should be more educational.
Gastronomy is culture, it is art, it should not only be how to cook the product, but really know everything that is behind it. Very excited today I talked about our molcajete, the pestle and mortar. Mexico has a large number of instruments, from the molcajete to the metate, which when I teach it is exciting, cooking smoke, using lime for the comal, using clay pots that are made by hand, that we can heat to very high temperatures. , all this, is something that everyone should learn and see how to really use them to return to our routes and understand that all the ingredients were cooked in this way.
Now there are new techniques, there are new ways of cooking, but knowing the basics you can do anything else.
It would be interesting to share this knowledge, wouldn’t it?
On television there are several things; for example, Masterchef is a program that I love and I will never stop loving it, on this occasion, for the children’s season I was not invited, it has its formats and I respect it, but it needs to be more cultural. It has all the elements to be a great program, now I am not the director, I am the person who feeds and filters the information in the best way I have. It is the job of us, as judges, to be a role model in the best way.
“Being a guest of last season, an ancestor and before that was very emotional, because Hernán Albareque, who was the producer, gave me the opportunity and they promoted me as a royal chef, understanding the royal family from Queen Elizabeth, to Prince Charles, Andrew and his wife, Countess Sofia; even heads of state, Barack Obama.
But in Mexico, the culture is excessively great, I am proud of how beautiful Mexican gastronomy is, the regional that goes from a barbecue from Hidalgo, to the best moles from Oaxaca or Puebla.
How do you see the chefs who are now television figures?
I have met some incredible chefs, but to be able to be on television you have to have that spark and I think I have that privilege of being able to wrap. He has been in Mexico for three permanent years, but he had not come to this country for 23 years, already as a professional adult; and arriving in a country so rich in gastronomic terms is very interesting. It happens to me like Willy Wonka from The Chocolate Factory; Suddenly I go to Oaxaca and they teach me everything about the distillation of mezcal, I get excited to see the Chicatana ants, the worm salt, the whole process”.
When was your love for gastronomy born?
I have always carried it with me, but when I was 7 years old my mother, being English, worked for the British embassy, and for many events. My family is very religious, I am Anglican, it is the English church, it is Christianity. My brother is one of the most important heads of the Presbyterian church in the United States; my mom always joked, she said that my brother feeds the soul and I feed the body.
“My mom is a great cook, we always compete because I tell her that I taught her. She organized many weddings, in the church we went to she was in charge of the events, and from a very young age she told me: ‘help us set up the tables’. I didn’t want to, I ran to the kitchens, and the cool chefs gave me certain things to cook with.
“There is a very beautiful story, in the English embassy I would hide to make chocolate truffles when I was 7 or 8 years old, and when it was time to go home I would hide in the bathroom, until one day my mom got upset. and went looking for me. And they told her that she was making truffles and that’s when she began her passion for cooking, cooking became a part of me.
Are there tips in the kitchen so that one can make the dish go well?
There are endless hacks, there could be a book, I have a collection of over 1,300 cookbooks, I have 50 favorites that I won’t let go of. Tips there are so many, one of them is that the essential thing is “the mise en place” and it means that you must prepare all the tools that you are going to use, for example, if I am a painter, I have to have the brush, the paint, etc. . and not at the mere hour you will have to go looking for the utensils that you are going to use.
“It’s bringing all the ingredients and tools in front of you, it’s much easier and you’re more likely to have a more organized environment. Being tidy, organized and clean is essential in the kitchen so that your mind is not contaminated by everything around you and your focus is the core of what you are cooking.
Another very basic tip is not to add a lot of salt to the product, there are those who use that powder and it is not bad to use it, but you have to use it intelligently, because if you reduce a background already that powder has it, it will become something incredibly salty.
In the case of meat, it is important to know that if you take it out of the refrigerator, the muscle is tense, so you have to let it relax at room temperature, it should not be seasoned beforehand, because the only thing that the salt will do it is healing and it will keep the texture of the skin completely dry and the natural juices will be tense and the food will not taste good.
Are you born with seasoning or do you get it?
Any cook would say that the seasoning is on the palate, but I think it comes from our families, that does not mean that my family has excellent seasoning; but the seasoning is very unique; So, as a cook, if I like something, I have to sell it in the best way so that the person who eats what I am producing likes it.