The popular MasterChef jury and alma mater of El Bohío, who these days have been reunited with the pleasure of cooking without haste, defends the validity of subsistence cuisine and basic foods

Coronavirus, last minute

Perhaps he is the most beloved Pepe in Spain, and it is that the media Pepe Rodríguez Rey (Illescas, Toledo, 1968) gives off, without intending to, bonhomie and empathy in equal parts, qualities that in these troubled times have been accentuated and given his verb, alive and agile, a tone of gravity . It is not for less, "with what is happening". Feelings of uncertainty, sadness and a certain helplessness make their way and become strong in an interview raised a priori on how to deal with culinary quarantine, which to the alma mater of El Bohío (Illescas) and MasterChef jury - whose next edition RTVE promotes for very soon - he "caught" her at home, in his hometown .

First, something that in coronavirus times already seems like a mantra when the conversation starts, are you all okay? Yes, now, yes. The first day, when we closed the restaurant, my wife and I felt bad, we had a fever. We took the medicines they told us, and after three days I was fine, but it lasted seven or eight. I think we have passed it, but since they didn't test us, we can't really know. How do you face confinement? I imagine that like everyone. I am living it with uncertainty, a certain helplessness and hopelessness, I do not see that we can leave in the short term. Are you, like those Spaniards who can do it, teleworking? No, I am not telecooking, it is impossible. If you have a restaurant, you are in it or you are not. But yes, I cook for my family, before I only did it at night, when I arrived from El Bohío; Now, I make all the meals. We have more time, how can we use it gastronomically? What dishes should we cook to have a rich and balanced diet? What should we banish? With what is mounted, the truth is that I do not see myself able to give recipes or clues to deal with it. There are many influencers who are doing it and cooks who show people their dishes (I have also uploaded to social networks some that have asked me from MasterChef ). That is good and it is good to entertain, encourage and help in this way because it is surely necessary, from giving yoga classes to recommending books, but it doesn't work for me. Since we can go out and buy basic products, which ones shouldn't be missing these weeks in our pantry / fridge? It will depend on the pocket of each one. If you follow the networks, there are even gourmet products; It is wonderful that one can eat the best acorn-fed ham or have that vinazo that was stored at home ... I live with the idea of ​​making virtue of necessity and I am educating my children in it. I tell you that you have to stretch out the bread, the pasta, the potatoes ... You can subsist on very basic products. I have not yet gone out to buy because we are taking advantage of the food that we had left in the restaurant.

El Bohío restaurant, in Illescas (Toledo).

The kitchen used by our mothers and grandmothers ... Yes. That I have a rabbit in the freezer, I prepare it with noodles, or I make a potato omelette, a stew ... The harvest kitchen has always existed and its great recipes are still valid. It is the kitchen of a lifetime: lentils, stew ... For example, with a few spikes of bread I have made a garlic soup that throws back . Before it was easier to buy, now you have to adapt to the situation , to what there is. Well, we are going to clean the freezer and, with some tails of rooster or some chicken fillets, I make a stir fry of pasta and thus I get out of the way. I have three children to feed every day, like the vast majority of people who are confined to their homes. Sometimes we also make sandwiches, I take cans of sardines or squid and fix a dinner ... Since we have time, is cooking an option for the whole week? I anticipate some things for a day or two but, since I have all the time in the world to enjoy cooking, I have found myself with the pleasure of doing it without haste, it does not matter to eat at 2 or 3. It is real cooking. to celebrate the end of this at home ... I can't think of any. Right now I see it from sadness and I do not think that with the one that is coming upon us, not only in the hospitality sector, we have something to celebrate. We don't know what the day after will be like. Everything is black ... Well, I wouldn't use a red shrimp, for example, not because I can't, but out of respect for all those people who can't, and that's also a way of being supportive. I think everyone should make the dish that comes out ... You're giving me an idea and the same fry a couple of eggs that I haven't eaten for a long time, damn.

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