We interview Iñigo Rodriguez, the chef of the Hotel Pacha Ibiza | IbizaFoodie
How many years have you been cooking?
I started studying Hotel Management in Bilbao at the age of 16. At 18 I was already doing my first intership in a restaurant near where I lived. Until today, when I manage the kitchen of the Hotel Pacha, it has been already almost 22 years working in the kitchen.
What led you to be a chef?
The second year of studying hotel management I told my parents that this was not for me, and after a long conversation they convinced me to finish the last year of cooking to get the title of cook. I also have to mention, that it was a choice: to be a cook or to be a fisherman, since I belong to a coastal town called Bermeo and its main industry is fishing, a beautiful job but at the same time very hard.
After getting the title of cook I started to practice cooking in several restaurants, and I realized that if it for me! I was trying every day to improve and this contributed to have worked alongside great chefs like Andoni Luis Aduriz , Ferrán Adrià and the Roca brothers, who not only instilled my gastronomic values but also the personal ones.
What is your favorite food? Why?
There is a dish that I love: Marmitako, it is a potato and tuna stew, a very seafood recipe.
I really like this dish, because I remember it since I was little in my house, in my grandmother’s house, in the one of my whole family and it has remained engraved in my memory.
What are the details that you try to capture in your cookery?
The simplicity of things. I like to use a great product, a product if good quality that I try not to mask too much, I do not like to overload the dishes.
3 ingredients that can never be missing in your kitchen:
- Fresh aromatic herbs
- The octopus
- The carob
What is the most important thing on a plate?
Fresh and quality ingredients! having this, you already have the half work done and from here, you do what the imagination of each one allows to elaborate and try to create a good harmony between the ingredients.
Which ingredient of the Island is your favourite ?
With the carob, without any doubt! It is an ingredient to which I am very grateful. More than 12 years ago when I was already using it regularly, many people looked at me a little weird and while laughing saying me “but that is food for animals!”. And the truth is that it is a product that over time has been revalued a lot and has been introduced into the world of salty cooking. It is used to prepare some amazing combinations and I feel very linked to it.
Any news prepared for the upcoming season in Pacha?
There are many, but most of them are still not defined. At the moment they are “being cooked”, but I am sure that some will surprise, and if everything continues its course, we will have for this summer the third version of flaó, which is a great challenge since the others two have had great success and the expectatives are high to reach.
What was it like working in the best restaurant in the world?
It was an unique experience, I learned a lot not only at the gastronomic level but also at the level of organization and management, which is very useful in my everyday in the kitchen.
And I am very grateful to the Bulli team because thanks to them many doors have opened for me.
What do you like most about Ibicencan cuisine?
I love the traditional cuisine of Ibiza, there are stews such as “bullit”, the “cuinat”, and others like for example “salsa de nadal”.
But as I’m from a place of marine culture, I prefer the local fish.
Your favorite place on the island?
I love the area of Santa Eulalia, but above all I prefer the part of Cala Nova.
And my gastronomic corner is Es Ventall, the restaurant of my great friend José Miguel Bonet.