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Sergio Fernández reveals his secret in the kitchen: "You have to be romantic and cook with love"

Posted on 5/1/2018 by
Annabel Saavedra
  • The Madrid chef is committed to a "traditional cuisine, with its bases and history" but with "light touches of modernity"
  • Fernández says that Spanish cuisine is "outstanding" but insists that "there is a lot of work to be done so that everyone has access to food": "When I was little I was not allow to leave a piece of bread on the plate"

ANNABEL SAAVEDRA AND CLARA DE MELO.- Since he burst onto the small screen more than 18 years ago, Sergio Fernández has become one of the most mediatic and beloved chefs in our country. First, as a chef in the TVE program "Saber Vivir" and, later, in "Las mañanas de La 1", "Cocina con Sergio" and, currently, we can follow him in "España Directo" and in the program "Esto me suena ", By RNE. He is excited to work in front of the stove, but he also likes training people in the kitchen, collaborating with several ONGs to help the needy and writing books. He himself assures us that he would like to sleep a little more, with which he announces that his next project is personal: "Enjoy life a little bit slower, enjoy more my life - my children, my wife, my pets ..., and continue with my profession, but lowering a little bit the scales. "

QHE- What is it like being in front of the stoves and in front of the cameras?

I consider myself a lucky person because for 18 years I've been working on it, every day live and in different radio and television programs, is a luxury. And the truth is that it is very funny, because although I have been on TV for so many years people recognize me and talk to me. And although I take my job very seriously, I am still struck by the moment when someone recognizes me and tells me that the other day thwy made a recipe that I explained five years ago ...I am lucky that I am addressing a very affectionate audience, very close and very familiar. As I say, in the end you're straining at home, but without knocking on the door.

QHE- How and when is your idyll born with television?

It was born by chance. I was a professor at the School of Hospitality and Tourism of Madrid and they called me from a program called "Saber Vivir", which was presented by a certain Manuel Torreiglesias and that I did not know him. Then, there was that moment when they call, one can not, the other can not either ... In the end, they told me: "Sergio, it's your turn to go to the TV". Also, that day they did not pay me, it was a favor and yes it is true that I was nervous and very surprised with everything that is behind it: makeup, hairdressing, etc. And at the end of the program, I did not know what Manuel Torreiglesias see in me, he said that he liked how I did it and he suggested that I attended the program once a week. And I said to myself: ''Okay, let's do it." And since then, I'm still here.

QHE- Yours, is a family dedicated body and soul to gastronomy. From your grandparents you inherited that gift for baking. How would you define your cooking?

I like to maintain a traditional cuisine, with its bases, respecting the food, taking care of the raw material and giving it light touches of modernity in some occasions.

QHE- According to Oxfam's "Good enough to eat index" report, La Haya is the city where the best food is eaten in the world. But it does not refer to the gastronomic quality, but to whether there is food for everyone, at a good price, of good quality, healthy ... and tasty. Do you think that we eat well in Spain?

At the gastronomic level, Spain has an outstanding high without any problem. But if we refer to everyone having access to food, then we are fair, because I have been fortunate to be able to collaborate voluntarily with very marginal sectors of the population and it gives me a lot of courage when society takes for granted the fact that everyone has access to food. Therefore, I think we should have a great respect for food. When I was little I was not allowed to leave even a piece of bread.

QHE- Two years ago, you were awarded as "Best Chef of 2015" by the Spanish Federation of Gastronomic Guilds (FECOES). What did this prize mean to you?

The Brotherhoods conjugated that affection that I try to put to the traditions, to its work, to its trajectory. That was in 2015 and in 2016 they named me "European Chef" and there where many countries from the European Union. It was the recognition of one of the things that I like the most: to see what is behind each product. This type of recognition is a luxury for anyone.

QHE- A study published by the World Health Organization (WHO) warns that in the world there are already 124 million children and young people (between 5 and 19 years) who suffer from obesity, ten times more than what was recorded four decades ago. What are we doing wrong?

I think that society in general is breaking with normality. Four decades ago there was more normality than now; children were raised in the streets, playing, running, with their bicycle, with their friends ... And being up and down all day helped them, so there were not many problems of obesity.

And I think that this change in social trend is a factor that is helping to have a relevant level of obesity.

QHE- How does Sergio Fernández lives gastronomy from outside the set?

My life is so plural that, suddenly, they invite me to give cooking workshops, at the same time I try to recycle myself so to keep abreast of new trends and I go out to eat, I also value it a lot because I always think that there is someone who has been preparing that dish for us to enjoy it. I also enjoy a lot being outside of the set, because in the end, gastronomy has to be a moment of pleasure. But a pleasure not only based on 57 Michelin stars, which is very good, but also in assessing the moment in which the farmer gives you to try a tangerine that has just cut off a tree.

QHE- Sergi Arola, chef with two Michelin stars , says that "haute cuisine is a romantic thing" ...

Maybe. I have not focused my life on haute cuisine. You have to have a lot of passion if you want to dedicate only to it. For me, romantic is when I have to prepare a puree for my children, when they have it, if it has good color, if it looks good, if they do not make bad faces when they take it . Romantic is when I collaborated in a nursing home and with the few resources that there were I made them rich, tasty dishes, without salt and you had to present them well. In the end, romanticism you have to put it in everything you do. You have to be romantic and cook with love.

QHE- Any budding project that can be explained?

After a busy life and having achieved goals that I had never considered, I do have a personal project that consists of 'stopping' . Now, my maxim is the opposite that happens to many people: to stop the rhythm, to enjoy more my life (children, women, pets, hobbies ...), and to continue with my profession but lowering a little the scales. From the age of 16, I started in restaurants, until I was 41 with stages of two and three jobs at the same time, times living outside of Spain and, in the end, you realize that life is what it is and that it does not come wrong to start saying no to many projects and start saying: I want to savor every second of life. Therefore, my project more than work, is personal.


  • If you could be a sweet, you would be...

Yema de Santa Teresa.

  • At home, who cooks?

My wife refuses to step on the kitchen.

  • A secret corner to get lost?

San Facundo, in El Bierzo, in León: 18 inhabitants and a spectacular landscape.

It produces you urticaria ...

The frenetic ryhtm, that I live in the AVE: all stressed executives , nervous.

  • Preferred day of the week?


  • Twitter, Instagram or Facebook?


  • A reference chef for you?

All those who founded the School of Hospitality and Tourism in Madrid. An army of chefs who started out of nowhere forming kids.

  • Sergio, what does not come out of you?

The artistic candies are a complicated matter for me.

  • Outside of work, do you practice any sport?

Hiking, up the mountain.

  • What spectacle we can not miss?

The Lion King or Les Miserables.

  • Our star question: fried potates wedges, with spicy salsa or without?

With its right touch of spicy.

  • A classic restaurant in Barcelona?

1881, in the Port of Barcelona.

  • Do you recommend us a recipe book to cook with the kids?

"Pequeños chefs, grandes cocineros''.

  • When you grow up you want to be...

Farmer. Where do I sign up?