Three direct tickets to the Olympus of the kitchen where creativity shines with its own light. The BBVA de Gastronomía scholarship awarded yesterday to the students of the Canary Islands School Hotels (Hecansa), María Fernanda Cortés, Omar Moreno, and Héctor Pérez, with a four-month stay at the famous restaurant El Celler de Can Roca, where they can complete his practical training. The establishment, located in the province of Gerona and run by the brothers Joan, Josep and Jordi Roca, has three Michelin stars, and has a large kitchen of 210 square meters where the most careful and original ideas are cooked. In this scenario, the students will go hand in hand with the three brothers to perfect their skills in cooking and assistance in the room.
The clock read 12 noon and the Roca brothers were in one of the halls of the Hotel School of Santa Brígida, ready to give the names of the students graced by the BBVA scholarship. In the same space, 17 students of the training center – in the absence of two others – impatiently awaited the result of the verdict. Josep Roca spoke, and the first name to come to the fore was that of María Fernanda Cortés, student of the Kitchen Management Program of the Santa Brígida School Hotel.
"This has been a big surprise for me, I did not expect it at all and I am more than satisfied," said the 32-year-old student enthusiastically. Without leaving her amazement, the young woman confessed that her goal is to continue learning "in this incredible profession", from which she wants to make her livelihood. A path through which he began to take the first steps only a year and a half ago, the result of a pending subject with his own personal challenges. "I studied Audiovisual Communication and my career was always linked to that field." One day, I decided to take the big step and signed up for Hecansa, "said the young woman.
Likewise, Cortés valued his experience in school as "very positive" and wanted to highlight the enormous effort he has made to stand out in the kitchen. "The secret is to offer everything one can give, to evolve, and always have the purpose of continuing to grow," he said forcefully. To then add that, "I think I have stood out for my communication skills, although it does not seem that way, this is very important in the field of cooking, since we are obliged to deal with a lot of people".
As regards the expectations that she has deposited in the formative stage that she will be able to enjoy at El Celler de Can Roca, the student of the Hotel Escuela de Santa Brígida said that her main goal is "to enhance my creativity" and to same time, "that it becomes a catapult to go up to professional level".
As for its future plans, the winner of the BBVA de Gastronomía scholarship said that her great dream is "to have the possibility of running a cultural café whose goal is to promote art, culture, the audiovisual world, and photography" .
The second identity unveiled during the awards ceremony was that of Omar Moreno, also a student of the Kitchen Management Program at the Santa Brígida School Hotel. "I can not wait to catch the plane, when I heard my name, my whole body began to tremble," said the 28-year-old. "I did not have the opportunity to study cooking until last year," he continued, "everything I had learned so far was the result of my practices at home to get out of the monotony of eating pasta with tomato."
With a clear expression of happiness on his face, Moreno assured that his goal "is to make this path my profession," because "it is a job that has a lot of value and I have just been given a golden opportunity". Surprised by Asian cuisine, this young man is very clear that his time at El Celler de Can Roca will allow him to perfect his techniques "both in terms of flavors, smells and gastronomic design".
Regarding his future projects, the Gran Canaria student stressed that the first purpose he pursues is "to be happy cooking" and visit many places in the world. "I am passionate about traveling and I do not know where I will end up, but I am clear that I have found my vocation in this world and I am going to put all my effort into getting better every day," Moreno added.
The last name that was announced was that of Héctor Pérez, a student of the Food and Beverage Management Program of the Santa Cruz School Hotel, who will be in charge of serving the award-winning Gerona restaurant. Visibly moved, and with a smile on his face almost as big as his desire to learn, he explained that, "I've been waiting for an opportunity like this all my life, I'm going to be in the cradle of the kitchen, and for me it's a dream."
Despite being only 23 years old, he can boast of extensive experience. In fact, he began to trace his path in this profession at 15, "lending a hand" in his aunts' restaurant. "I started doing basic tasks such as preparing the room, taking out some dishes and little else, and with the passage of time, I began to take charge of the orders and to have a more direct relationship with the diners," said the young man.
From his training, he also highlighted his stay, over the past year, in a hotel categorized with five stars. "There, I had the opportunity to take a lot of fluency, which in turn prompted me to enroll in Hecansa to expand my professional training," he said, while carefully observing the distinctive badge he had just received from prestigious professionals.
The brothers Roca and BBVA have visited the island where it is crowned as the seventh stop of their tour through the different regions of the national territory. Thus, since 2016 and up to now, they have been present in seven autonomous communities. In each of the places visited, Chef Joan, the sommelier Josep, and the pastry chef Jordi have proceeded to develop a menu of each community, as a tribute to local cuisine.
Following this line, and faithful to this custom, since last week, the owners of El Celler de Can Roca settled in the capital of Gran Canaria with the purpose of developing an autochthonous menu. A proposal that had the opportunity to delight the palate of a hundred people at a dinner held on Monday night at the Hotel School of Santa Brígida. In the process of making these dishes, the Roca brothers had the opportunity to observe the work done by the 19 Hecansa students, who for the first time, participate in this activity. There, the professionals could put in value the skills and abilities of the scholarship applicants.