It’s a fantastic day. Today I have stayed with my guest in Triana. Our respective grandparents took pride in being from this neighborhood. In fact, mine called it “the right part of the river. We meet in one of the bars from where we can see the shore of Seville. We sat at a table in the sun. While the boats pass by, we order a wine and Enrique chooses: “Can we have a couple of glasses of ‘Zancúo’, please? This was my father’s favorite wine.” he tells me, with some nostalgia in his voice and, if I’m pressed, also in his eyes. It’s curious. We just sat down and he’s already mentioned his grandfather and his father, so I get an idea of how important family is to him.
Enrique Sánchez is already known in his professional role. I would dare to say that he is part of the family of all of us. He has been coming into his house every afternoon for more than a decade to cook with Andalusian products and introduce us to the producers of our land, giving them the value our raw materials deserve, promoting local trade. Member of three brotherhoods: the grumpythat of tipper and that of fried eggwith his faithful squire Amador, presents us with dynamic, friendly and relaxed cuisine, without great pretensions, adapted to all audiences.
Enrique has been very lucky in this life. That luck that is achieved based on hours of tireless work and continuous training. That luck of professionals who do not have vacations or who take advantage of them to go to work in another restaurant and continue learning. That luck of the permanent insistence on the search for perfection with the aim of making us happy because we must never forget that this is the only objective of any self-respecting chef: to make their customers happy. Convey that feeling of pleasure that he found with his father with whom, every weekend, he spent hours cooking, side by side, since he was five or six years old, sharing the most valuable thing that can be shared with a father: time. He did not lose this habit until professional responsibilities made him leave home.
In fact, it was in front of those same stoves that they saw him grow up, in a father-son conversation, where they decided his professional future. Our chef started his Medicine degree and, even though he had fantastic grades in the first year, he agreed with his father to leave her. His vocation went elsewhere. Of course, his family condition was that, if he wanted to dedicate himself to cooking, he had to train and study at the highest possible level. Remember that we are in the early nineties and the training possibilities in hospitality at the time were not the same as today. Allow me a personal appreciation. It is possible that his father, a successful director of a prestigious insurance agency, saw in his son Enrique the cook that, due to the circumstances at the time, he could not have been.
Marked by his professional career
The fact is that he begins to study at the newly opened Higher School of Hospitality in Seville and realizes in minute one that this is what he wants to do for the rest of his life. He lacked hours a day to continue studying. The books always seemed small because the desire to learn was great. So big that you have the need to start “touch knives” and soon combines studies with work in the Halberdier’s Tavern of Seville which, at the time, had achieved a Michelin star. Here begins an exciting and vertiginous professional career, which will take him to the United States, with Josu Zubicarai, in the Halberdier’s Tavern too, but on the other side of the pond; to Italy with Fulvio Pierangelini in Gambero Rosso, with two Michelin stars; and to Portugal. However, it was Santi Santamaría from the restaurant Can Fabes who will mark him by his way of working to the point of acquiring customs and behaviors that the cook from San Celoni had in his kitchen. From there a beautiful friendship arose. But the same thing happened with Fulvio or with Josu. Wherever he went, he left his mark as he tried to absorb knowledge.
Over the years, Enrique begins to teach at the Superior School of Hospitality of Seville, a field that he had never touched, but which represents a new challenge for him that excites him. He had the possibility of transmitting what he had studied to his students, but he was also going to transmit to them what he had experienced during all those years with all those chefs in all those restaurants. In addition, we add to this new teacher the immaterial value of experience, which imprints character, and when it comes to teaching, each one has a unique and personal style. And it is precisely here when, by chance, he auditions with the production company that was going to launch a cooking program in South Channel Television. His knowledge, together with that love relationship he maintains with the camera, makes him start presenting one of the television programs with the highest screen share in Andalusia, which maintains spectacular audience data, despite having been on the air for thirteen years. .
Lara, Charlotte, Enrique and Rodrigo
In between, and speaking of love, Lara appears in his life, a co-worker who has ended up also becoming a life partner. Together they experienced what hospitality was in its purest form. When there were no breaks, they had split shifts, they put in many hours… Come on, what has been this world that, I don’t know why, we love. Well, yes I do. It’s called passion. It has no explanation. Today things are different. Now, they spend overtime with Carlota, Enrique and Rodrigo, their children, from whom, if it is not strictly necessary, they do not separate and who, as Enrique says, are their “three best recipes”.
We finished the wine. Despite being November, the sun is beating down. We get up and, walking slowly, we go to the door of the bar while we continue with our chat. She tells me that she has a new book just around the corner. We also have the Blue Chefs, with whom a server collaborates, almost already in the kitchen for the next solidarity event. I met Enrique in Madrid years ago and my admiration for him was only professional. Believe me when I tell you that, since that day, I have been able to verify that the personal part clearly outweighs the professional. And now, when you share events with him, if we also get into the family section, it’s to eat him up. So one word echoes in my head: “Eat it!”.