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Who is Pablo Albuerne?
An untypical chef who, despite discovering his passion late in life, now lives it to the full.
In the beginning cooking was work, a way to survive. At home, the only culinary influence I had was my grandmother, who had the ability to cook food that people liked a lot with few ingredients. However, I started to study cookery and to enjoy it and ended up working with Santi Santamaría. Now I devote myself to cooking in the open air through my Gipsy Chef and Cocinando Tour (Cooking Tour) projects.
Could you tell us a little about the history of Gipsy Chef? How did it all begin?
Well, being stuck in a kitchen didn’t really motivate me, so I gave it up. After a while literally doing nothing, I found the chance to work as a chef on a yacht in Minorca and various voyages. I became a kind of nomad chef.
That was the seed of Gipsy Chef: a kitchen in movement, a return to cooking’s roots and a great opportunity to discover ingredients on every trip.
After that, using my savings I produced a programme that consisted of cooking in the heart of the countryside, in a pop-up restaurant where I cooked without electricity or gas and only using the products that local people supplied. It was a kind of culinary exchange. After hearing many times that there was no audience for this concept, a TV producer bought the idea.
However, television didn’t fully satisfy me, so I decided to do everything myself, literally: I learned all the audiovisual processes and began to produce my own contents for my YouTube channel, where I share recipes using local products that are accessible to anyone.
As a chef, what do you think is the recipe for success?
Of course, Gipsy Chef was not a financial success. But I didn’t expect it to be. Perhaps its success lay in the people I met and the experiences I gained.
And the thing is, in general cooking makes up for all your sacrifices by making you happy, and that was the case with Santi Santamaría or recording the programme, and even more so when it’s your own project. Basically, the simpler your dishes, the more satisfaction they give you.
What important lessons do you think you have learned through your experience with Gipsy Chef and Cocinando Tour?
I began with Cocinando Tour after television, in a search for more personal experiences. It consisted of taking cooking outdoors, in a kind of intimate show with guests. For the guests it was especially daunting to cook with nothing: using very few raw materials, no electricity, no gas, etc. In a way it was a kind of “unplugged” cooking: intimate and close up. The connection that was created through the recipes was much stronger. In the end, you don’t need a lot of things or a big budget to make something that reaches people.
Do you have any advice for those entrepreneurs who are daring to innovate and create at times like these?
Not to be afraid of failure and to throw themselves into their work. In Spain, a failure is a mistake, a stain. But in other countries, failure is experience and learning. So, get on with your idea and don’t let time pass you by. Adapt to any situation, and as long as you don’t betray your core beliefs everything you do will turn out fine. Remember that water always finds a route around obstacles without ceasing to be water. Above all, start: the only idea that is a failure is the one that isn’t tried.
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"The simpler your dishes, the more satisfaction they give you"