Cooking can be a lot of fun — even therapeutic! —And David de Jorge defends that vision of gastronomy in a radical way. Who has not ever laughed with their chorizo sandwiches with Nocilla and other guarrindongadas?
He does not mind getting into controversy with the omelette and, if the Valencian paella recipe has to be questioned, he does so disguising himself as a fallera. But behind his humor, his excesses and his speeches full of slogans and swear words, there is a cultured, well-read and well-traveled guy who works every day alongside the chef with the most Michelin stars in Spain: Martín Berasategui.
Together they have already published several cookbooks. The last, Easy peasy. More recipes without shame (Debate), in which they try to “convey the happiness of the stew and the stir-fry to the people,” according to the interview given to Cadena SER. A work that includes simple recipes with its personal touch: stuffed eggs, chestnut cream, Russian salad with sardines, meatballs in mushroom sauce, tongue with pepper … and tuku-tuku soup, a kind of porrusalda that sounds like a box of Gauguin but it was named after a fishing boat from Hondarribia.
David de Jorge assures him at first that he likes everything edible, but when he insists – we all have something we don’t like – he admits that insects are not very funny to him. “This fashion of eating moths, cockroaches, grasshoppers and other shit is very good in other latitudes, and possibly a Mexican will think the same when they see me eat elvers. I eat them … but they don’t make me very funny. I know that a lot of people don’t it supports some food, but I like the ins and outs, the veal liver, the cucumber … I don’t disgust any texture “.
With what it does mark distances is with avant-garde cuisine. “I respect very much Ferran Adrià, but I am in the antipodes of that so rare kitchen. However, I feel very close to chefs who have burned their eyelashes, such as José Juan Castillo, from Casa Nicolasa, who has just passed away at the age of 75. In fact, I confess that I don’t even know how to use a siphon. “
The importance of bad nougat
He also says he misses Santi Santamaría a lot, “a very enjoyable uncle, with a lot of character and who wrote very well”, but assures that, although his legacy is now claimed as a revival of the traditional, he believes that deep down he has always been there. “There is much more gastronomy in the desire of many Spaniards to eat a piece of bad chocolate nougat at Christmas than in all the fireworks that are published,” he says.
The Basque chef refers to the pandemic as “a shipwreck” and claims to have learned that what is truly important is not what cooks do but the work of people like his girlfriend, Eli, who runs a nursing home for the elderly. “DBehind this foul-mouthed shell hides a tender, affectionate and easy-crying uncle “, he assures.” We need more empathy. “
If only I could save a restaurant
As we reflect on that shipwreck, we propose a hypothesis: which restaurant would you save, if you could only save one? He works in Martín Berasategui, so for sheer survival, he would choose Lasarte’s three stars “and all its motherships. But one of his weaknesses is Casa Capote, in El Viso del Alcor (Seville).
“How can I not like it! I love the great Manolín, and those little ones and those fried aubergines that they have been selling for so many years. What really sustains the hospitality industry is all that mass of bars and taverns that do things well but that are often not seen because they are under the iceberg, “he says.” I like normal people. I’m up to the balls of great people. “
Life without bullshit
But David de Jorge does what he says and says what he does. A good example of this is the Twitter thread in which a screenwriter from What a week! explains that, on a visit to the ETB, Martín Berasategui and David de Jorge refused the catering that was offered to them to eat in the staff canteen and, later, applaud all the workers who were in the kitchen.
… they called out all the kitchen staff and asked the whole dining room to applaud those people who fed us every day.
– Juanjo Ramírez Mascaró (@ramirezmascaro) December 5, 2021
“Beyond newspapers and guides, there are many people who exercise our trade in a very dignified way in the kitchen of a public television, an outpatient clinic or a school. Also in the Cadena SER cafeteria! Many times we take the merit abnormal like me, or chaste macarrillas like David Muñoz, who is a great cook, or people with magic like Martín Berasategui. But that’s what the job is and the rest is bullshit. “
Conversing with David de Jorge, in any case, is like an exercise in tightrope walking because the talk can lead to the most unexpected: “I have always had death very much in mind. When you close your eyes you face fatality and you realize that you’re a pringao. Luckily the sleep is restorative, but you are getting old, very dear people are leaving you and that makes you keep your feet on the ground. We are always very busy, but you have to try to enjoy yourself and stop seeing the world through a screen. You have to take refuge in normal things: do nothing, read, that a child pees at you and throws you all over you … At first you shit on his mother, but that’s life and we don’t have to miss it. “
Few starters and good after-dinner
A philosophy that he also applies to Christmas. It is what he has seen at home, in fact: “My mother asked us what we wanted and it was always very simple and traditional things. Croquettes, potato omelette … Even macaroni! All my friends ate grandiloquent things and, when I told them that at my house we ate macaroni gratin with chorizo, they freaked out. “
“I maintain the tradition. My mother is a horror because she is there but she is not, although she still enjoys eating … I asked what they wanted … and they told me a barbecue. Some chickens, a capon … I don’t know yet. Last year I had some impressive breaded fillets and soup, either stew or fish is not usually missing. But, above all, few starters. At home we stop craving and get to the point because if you have a good barbecue, it is It’s a shame not to arrive eager because before you’ve had some croquettes, ham and seafood. We like to come to the main ingredient eagerly. And then the nougat, the compote, the descojone and the glasses with your sister and your brother-in-law, who is it’s really fun. “
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.