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Jordan Cruz.

Manresa, 1978. On TV he is the tough face of

MasterChef

, but outside he is one of the great Spanish chefs (six Michelin stars) and a most pleasant conversationalist.

He now publishes the recipe book

Four Houses

.

When a chef of your caliber writes a recipe book, I always think that it's as if Messi was explaining to me how to take a free kick against the squad: it's not going to go well.

Well, I'm not the Messi of the kitchen, but I understand what you're saying.

A book is not a panacea nor is the recipe going to come out like a professional, but that is not my goal either.

It is a way to help understand the work of a cook.

I'm very interested in that part, it's like when I do live shows on the internet.

Actually, I make them because I'm deformed and on Sunday, which is my holiday, I don't know how to stand up, but the moment I decide to make a recipe for someone who is at home, I'm going to make it right, not in minute and a half to get more views.

I'm going to spend an hour explaining it slowly so that it comes out as well as possible.

Same with this book.

They are recipes that can be made, better or worse, and that you can even reinterpret in your own way.

I intend to motivate you and whet your appetite to cook,

You have six Michelin stars (three in ABaC, two in Angle and one in Atempo), only Berasategui has more in Spain.

Aren't you worried about the TV character eating the

super chef

?

He has worried me and I am aware of it.

But if I weigh the pros and cons, even knowing that it is bad for my figure as a cook, it still benefits me overall.

We work with the public, many people know us on TV and, thanks to

MasterChef

, we have been able to spread a lot.

That gives me great pleasure: making our country's cuisine better known and more valued by people.

Also, and this is important, I enjoy what I do.

It hurts the cook, but it benefits the business.

Exact.

Every day people come to my restaurants with a new customer profile, who have never set foot in a gastronomic restaurant and arrive with their ears wide open, they have saved up to come to my house and it is relatively easy to make them very happy.

That is a client that I like and that allows us to grow.

In addition, I have a long-term vision that tells me that, in a short or long time, I don't know, I will be able to recover that figure of the bald chef, which, deep down, is the one I like the most.

The day will come when

MasterChef

is over and I am not an actor or presenter, I am a cook.

So I will focus 100% of my time on my little kitchen, the eye of Mordor will get smaller and the focus will only be on the cook.

How do you combine both facets?

Do you have time for something else?

I don't have time for anything.

The ITV of the car, the DNI, all the

paperwork expired

, and the other day I had to look for people to help me renew everything because I couldn't go myself.

Today I have a horse ear infection that I have been dragging for days and the doctor has given me the prescription for the medication over the phone.

I've had 300 ear infections lately and I'm always like: "Well, let's see if it goes away on its own" (laughs).

I love my life, I have a lot of fun working, but I need to be dragged out of my house so I can have a good time, because I'm a bit of a bear, a bit lazy, and I need to be forced to do things.

But, of course, once they've taken me out, I take it to the extreme.

Elite chefs tend to have an obsessive point with creation.

Does it happen to you?

Only up to a point.

I'm the most deformed guy in the world, I'm obsessed with what I'm doing, but I'm not one of those important chefs who are always creating.

I am a

burnout

who enjoys making new recipes, but from then on, the pressure is created by each one.

I am not Dalí, I am not Picasso.

I'm just a

jerk

trying to do my best and I've been cooking for 30 years.

Since I already have that culture and knowledge, if I make five or six new dishes a month, great.

What do I do two?

Also great.

I have written seven books, I have cooked a lot and I put the right and necessary pressure on myself.

It's the good thing about not feeling Dalí or Picasso: they'll judge you when you're dead.

I just want to have a good time.

You have been in this for 30 years because you started at 14. How did it happen?

That everything was bad for me, really.

I was the youngest of six, a guy who considered himself very stupid and didn't have many good things, and he wanted to do something that I would be happy and my family could be proud of me.

I saw that I was pretty good at cooking and I said to myself: "Look, since I'm very stupid, I have to put 100% into this to do something in this life that is really good."

What happens is that I overstepped.

You can be bad at the hula-hoop, but if you put yourself out there for 30 years spinning the hoop...

Man, there would be some talent.

Yes Yes.

The only talent I have is for cooking, that's true.

That's why I enjoy it so much, because it gave me my place in the world.

It amuses me as a hobby, not as an obsession, but the chef is 24 hours a day, there is no middle ground.

When you relax, that's when ideas come out and you have to take advantage of that moment.

The role of bad guy that you have in

MasterChef

, how much is fake and how much comes natural?

Let's see, I'm not like that, but it's a part of me that's real.

You can also be very rude if you want, right?

When they put me on the jury in

MasterChef

, who is the world's toughest cooking talent, told me: "Look, we don't want you to be mean, we want you to behave like when you're in a three-Michelin-starred restaurant."

And me, when I'm in the restaurant, I become a borderline, a guy who feels an enormous responsibility for the customer who pays money to come to eat at your house and is looking for something unique.

For me there is no avant-garde cuisine: there is the good and the bad.

The recipe is right or wrong, the dish motivates me or it sucks.

So I say things crudely, but I'm not rude.

What happens is that I have a look that I look like a pimp and an idiot, but it's the look that has touched me, I'm very sorry.

It is true that I see myself on TV and think: "I look like an idiot."

I look like it, but I never try to humiliate or fail the contestant, I never criticize him,

but to your plate.

I don't tell him "you're an idiot" but "your dish isn't right because of this, you could have done it better and you have to be more demanding with yourself because this can't be served here".

Am I being mean for being so clear?

No. I'm telling you what a jury of

MasterChef

who is a good professional and is not here to tell you nice things.

He tells you crudely, which are the ones that really make you learn.

It is done.

Although lately I've softened a bit, because before I didn't understand what the film was about and I did it in a rougher, less natural way.

Now I say the same, but it's more me.

You have brought the character to your ground.

It's just that I didn't like that character because I acted as I thought was expected of me.

It was an exaggeration of the dodgy part that we all have.

Let's see, I can be very stupid (laughs), what happens is that there are many people who don't show it on screen.

I don't care if people see me playing the bad guy.

I imagine that there are many actors in the cinema that you could ask that question: "Hey, do you like being the killer of

Seven

?".

There are bad guys that are cool, being Darth Vader is candy.

Yes, but it could also be Luke Skywalker, I can do both.

Does that mean I'm Darth Vader?

No. It means I can behave like Darth Vader.

And I can be bad, eh, there are people who can have more stage fright or shame.

It amuses me to play the chungo, because I'm not funny.

Pepe [Rodríguez] is funny, I don't have his joke virtue.

And Pepe tells me a lot: "Jordi, don't be funny because you're not. Be an asshole, you're very good at it" (laughs).

And you're right, I'm very good at it.

Each one has his talents and I exploit mine.

Have you worried that this image could harm your business?

No. I would be worried if you paid attention to the four comments that they put on networks, but I think that most people know how to understand that what they see on TV is probably not like that and that to meet a cook you have to sit at their table, don't see it on a tv show.

I want people not to come to Jordi Cruz's restaurant, but to come to ABaC.

He doesn't come to sit with me at the table, damn it, he comes to a Tres Estrellas with a team of 50 people and we do it very well, beyond the fact that he can empathize with me more or less.

But there will be those who come to see you.

There are a lot of people who like to see me and I go out to the room every day, I take pictures with everyone and I think it's hilarious.

It surprises me, because I am a very normal person, but it also makes me feel proud.

With this photo thing sometimes I think: "Damn, let's see if the day it doesn't happen I'm going to miss it".

Are haute cuisine restaurants expensive or do you lose money, as some colleagues claim?

Spanish haute cuisine is not expensive, on the contrary, but the chef who earns money is because he does not do the numbers well.

We are always going to have a 5% profit, that is our number.

And if tomorrow I go up 20 euros, the menu will not be on a whim, it will be because gasoline has gone up, the prawn man charges me more, I do my numbers and, between salaries, general expenses and my 5%, give that price.

I don't know what the others do, but this is how we do it in my house.

We are not expensive, on the contrary, but we earn money.

There's no more.

Now, if you raise the menu to 200 turkeys, people will tell you: "Damn, the prawns have gone up" (laughs).

There is a middle ground.

In the end, in this business, as in all, there is the one who does things well and the one who does them badly.

I do them well and, from then on, everyone can do what they want.

What does

MasterChef

bring to the world of cooking?

An enormous outreach effort.

When you now see an eight-year-old boy who has been hearing the names of chefs all his life because he has seen them on TV and knows what a ball is... Damn, that didn't happen in my time.

I'm not talking about spherical anymore, it's enough for a kid to know what a cachopo is.

Thanks to

MasterChef

there is a generation that knows the gastronomy of this country, knows what a Michelin star is and wants to go to a good restaurant.

For that alone it is worth it.

It's cool that a boy from Segovia who has a mechanical workshop knows who Joan Roca is.

We have made people understand that we have a country of gastronomy, that we eat very well here.

A couple of weeks ago there was a stir with your support for Isabel Díaz Ayuso

I would like to explain this well.

I joked that I would marry her and she took to politics when I am a person who never talks about politics, nor does it occur to me.

I'm a cook, I don't know anything about politics, I'm an idiot.

What do I have to say about politics?

Do you think that a chef can publicly speak about politics and be taken seriously?

No man, no.

And I'm not talking about the pandemic either because what the hell do I know about managing pandemics.

What I do know is the hotel industry and in my city, Barcelona, ​​it has suffered a lot and has received very little support from the institutions while, from afar, I have seen how in Madrid a lady, who I do not know what political party she belongs to or I care, it has supported it and has tried to ensure that the hotel industry does not suffer too much from the pandemic.

And she has done her best.

With her faults, sure,

but I have seen interest in him and I value that.

Spot.

It is a personal reflection and not a political one: "Thank God someone has taken care of the hospitality industry".

I'm a cook and I only talk about that.

From there, they insult you and talk to you about the dead... What have you read?

What have you not understood?

Are you surprised by these virulent reactions?

It worries me that we are giving voice to all of Christ and people are giving their opinion about everything without necessarily knowing what they are giving their opinion about.

It's very easy to say, "You're an asshole."

Uncle, have you stopped to read well what I have said, to understand it well?

I do not get into anyone's social networks to insult them.

It doesn't even occur to me, even if I don't like it.

That's why I'm surprised that there are people who will screw you so gratuitously for saying something that I know I'm not wrong about.

There are 100,000 points of view, we can all see it in 100,000 ways, but it is a fact that this person has tried to help the hotel industry in Madrid.

And I don't dispute whether he has done other things wrong or right, but I know about this.

You plan to open a restaurant in Madrid.

Yes, we are seeing it.

It is undeniable that Madrid is right now the city to be in.

The other day I drove down Gran Vía and it was incredible: open gambling dens, people on the street, wanting to go out to dinner.

You think: "Damn, I want to open a restaurant here."

What happens is that we would like to set up a restaurant of our roll and our roll needs a very special place and we are looking for it.

We want to do it, but with the haste or the calm that doing things well requires.

Let's see if someone reads this interview and calls me: "Hey, I have that place you're looking for."

I don't want to come to Madrid to cover myself, it's just that it turns me on, it motivates me to see the atmosphere in the city and I'd like to add my part.

While we're at it, I'm going to get you another controversy you had:

stagiers

(interns without salary) in restaurants.

Do you still think the same?

This was worse than Ayuso.

A journalist calls me who had received criticism about how another chef treated his employees and asks me to give my opinion about the figure of the intern.

I tell him that I don't know what happened to that chef, but I can tell him about the model, about the figure of the apprentice, about that boy who is in a cooking school and, to complete his training, he has to go to learn someone's restaurant

And I gave him the example of El Bulli, where there were few contracted and many interns because they were interested in learning there.

And those people who were in practice today are René Redzepi or Andoni Luis Aduriz.

I think you can't close the door on that person who calls and he tells you: "I know you have your team, but I want to learn with you."

Do you defend it?

No, that's the best thing, that in my restaurant I don't have interns, I don't have interns, because our model doesn't accept it: we work a lot and we have a super professional staff.

We are a luxury and we have to pay a good salary to all our workers.

It generates a lot of frustration when you get hit for something you're not doing and statements that are totally blurred.

The other day he wrote me a bird on Instagram: "I shit on your dead. Die, asshole. And pay your workers."

I restrained myself from responding, "Boy, look, all my kids get paid more than you."

It seems very unfair to me that being a guy who tries to work hard, create jobs and pay his people as best as possible, I should be accused of these things.

He touches my pear a little, but I can't do anything because,

I interviewed him recently and he told me that he felt guilty about that.

Of course, because surely neither I am so bad nor he is so good.

Anyway, he's done, I shut up and I'm pulling with mine.

I am very calm, I sleep very well at night and I am very proud of what I do.

You say you don't see yourself on TV forever, what future do you see yourself in?

I am a cook and a realist, I do not consider myself a show person.

I'm good at my thing, which is cooking, and I do one thing that I really think is worthwhile, which is cooking.

If in three years Santiago Segura comes, we're friends, and he asks me to play the edge chef in a movie, I'm going to do it, but when this

MasterChef thing is over

I'm not going to go to Hollywood nor am I going to dub movies.

Nor am I going to start doing the first thing that comes out of the kitchen on television because I want to feel on screen.

I don't have that need, really.

I have no ego.

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