What kind of skills do chefs need today beyond the kitchen, in your opinion?
They have to be open-minded and get into management. Many of the most successful chefs have realised that they have to juggle the time they spend in the kitchen with management, because they have to coexist.
How do you see the role of the chef changing in the future?
The role of chefs in the future will be very important, not only because, more and more, they are media figures, they have become celebrities, popular people, but also because they are making decisions that affect everybody, not only on how we eat, but also on the future of food. They have to respond to the challenges the world and the sector is facing, for example, sustainability. They have to understand all this and I think that, thanks to education and training, the decisions we take from our position can be valid and good for everybody.
What are the best and worst things about your job?
The worst part of our job is to constantly have to adapt to new tools, you cannot stop your training, because if you do, you won't know the latest trends, where the innovation is, and you are lost. We are tied to innovation. That requires constant sacrifice, thinking and staying updated. But it is also a positive part for me. We are always developing ourselves, and training and learning. At CUMA, our satisfaction is linked to adaptability to the changes in the world or the ones our clients require, such as the ones we have suffered with the pandemic and the adaptability we have developed, for example through the digital transformation of organised catering. All this is the most difficult but also the most positive. So it is kind of a ying and a yang.
How has the pandemic affected your daily work and what would you say to chefs who are worried about a lack of kitchen jobs due to it?
I would say that adaptability is essential to survive. CUMA has had to adapt. We have updated our protocols. If I had to say something to the chefs, it would be to look for opportunities in the weaknesses. Whenever there is a negative situation, there is always an opportunity or positive aspect. Whenever this ends, hopefully soon, we will analyse the trajectory through these months and see where we have evolved, and I think chefs will have to do the same. It is an opportunity to update in digital transformation, protocols, R&D, innovation, anything they want. Training has a special role in times of crisis. I would tell them to keep pushing. When all this ends, there will be a time to show everything they have learned. There will be a revolution in our sector, and this is the opportunity to catch up. I want to give a message of hope.