Judit Ayago, expert sommelier: "For 40 euros you can drink a good champagne"
apron back on
and back into the kitchen, a life transformation for a lawyer used to dealing in
who never thought she could earn a living behind the stove. And do it followed by millions of people. This is what happened to
, the Galician who is behind
, the Instagram account with which the VIPs cook, among others
Her dishes with
, like her, were authentic best sellers during the quarantine, and there began the boom that completely changed its history. Because neither when Paola was studying law at
nor later, during all the time she was working in an office as a lawyer - "Five years, specialized in
my days passed between trials in court," she remembers - she could think that vegetables , cereals, pasta, legumes and rice were to replace the
as working tools.
How do you change a courthouse for a
? In her case, such a change in life came from her husband and from love, a feeling closely related to what she does. "Cooking brings
, it has made me very happy. We are all conquered by the stomach. Anyone is delighted when they cook something tasty, they put a smile on you from ear to ear, and you always brighten the lives of others when they do it. you bring a delicious plate ", he assures. That is why the transfer of her husband to
for six months put him on a platter. "When we are in our routine, immersed in the day-to-day race, we don't think about things. I was a bit saturated with the
and I doubted whether to change to another.
So I thought, 'It's only six months, I'm going with him, I see what to do and when he comes back I make a decision.' "And the trip changed everything.
A family success
Paola sowed the seeds of what her new life would be, although she was not starting from scratch.
"I had always liked cooking and it was something I dedicated to the little free time that the
. In those little moments that you have at noon, when you stop to eat, I took advantage of and prepared something healthy, easy and delicious. I have assumed it as the
, but at that time it was as it is: I had an hour off and cooked, "he recalls.
Being a cook and the commitment of one of her sisters are at the base of her
. "Normally we ate together and she took photos of the dishes that I cooked to upload them to her
. People asked her how she had done it, the ingredients, the quantities ... And at one point she got fed up: 'I'm going to make your own account so you can put the
, which burn me,' he told me. Since I didn't want to, my husband gave him the name ... that's how we started, "she laughs. But in the end, he got the bug, published some recipes and saw that people "liked it. I didn't know it would bring me so much happiness. When a stranger writes to tell you that a dish of yours has turned out great, the emotion is maximum , is a
inspiring and accompanying people on a day-to-day basis, making life easier for them ".
The move to London made him take it more seriously. "I had the account and free time, so I took the opportunity to start
and sign up for professional courses. I was on top of it." And it was time to return to Madrid and rethink everything again, to decide whether to return to the office or to dedicate himself to the kitchen in a professional way, "because I did not want him to be left alone in a
". It was not easy; changing your life is very
. "What do I do if it doesn't work out?" She asked her husband. "It's okay, you'll be a
and we'll eat better," he encouraged. "It convinced me that I was not losing anything. In London I had been delighted and I thought, if I like this, why not go for it?"
See this post on Instagram
Living from the kitchen
Immersed in all that process, the
arrived and people got hooked on the kitchen. "As I had been with the account for a couple of years, I had followers; but suddenly it was crazy, everything was very fast, they began to grow and grow." And his account took off. However, although she explains it as a series of coincidences, behind Foodtropia there is a lot of professional work. "It is not about being just an
who does specific things. I have other branches of business, in addition to my Instagram account. I give
, which I now
online for the
, but tomorrow I would like to have them in person, I am working on my own line of
, I just published a recipe book and do many collaborations with brands, the last one was a
with AEG, some electrical appliances that I love because they are the ones I use at home ".
Paola, who has prepared herself thoroughly - "You had to lay the foundations well" - with courses at
Le Cordon Bleu,
the leading school in haute cuisine training, recognizes that what she likes the most is "teaching and dedicating time to the people learn, see how easy it is to cook delicious dishes ". She draws
from her grandmothers, especially her mother, who was already writing recipes for the newspaper 'La voz de Galicia' when she was a child; from her mother, who is passionate about healthy eating, and from her father, a
who accompanies her to the market to choose the best seasonal products. "I love to play with
, recover the classics with a modern touch, those with which people do not dare because they think they are difficult, always under the premise that they are healthy and balanced ".
What are your next plans? Any other 360º turns on the horizon? Not really. The only thing I ask of the future is to stay as I am, because I am very happy. What I want is to continue growing in this field, to have my own space where I can give cooking classes, expand the branches of the business and create my own line of kitchenware. To continue as I am, I do not want more. We cannot close the interview without asking you for an easy, delicious and healthy menu for our big Christmas dates. What dishes do you recommend? Some of the ones I made today. First, a chestnut cream with mushrooms to which I have put mussels, clams and cockles, with a little fennel and truffle; It is a dish that does not have major complications, with ingredients that we find easily in the market, healthy and very easy to make. As main,Sea bass at low temperature with sweet potato puree and green sauce. And for dessert, a nougat coulant. An easy and very tasty Christmas menu.
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