Eric “Pepe” Garcia
Hi there, my name is Eric “Pepe” Garcia, I’m a chef, I started to develop my culinary skills in Madrid, while I was studying, I was working in different restaurants in the Capital of Spain. After a few years, I decided to move to Australia 8 years ago.
In the beginning, wasn’t easy as I found a big barrel to be able to communicate with the people, but always trying hard and with smile on my face things were getting better and better.
I start to work in a Spanish restaurant in Gold Coast, called Pablo Pablo, after 3 years running the kitchen, I decided to adventure opening my own catering business called The Spanish Catering.
This year has been a complete pleasure as with the help of the others 7 members, we finally were able to create the first non-profit association to promote the Spanish Gastronomy here in Australia, EAT SPANISH. We still have a lot of things to do, but I’m sure with all our effort, and the effort of the other associates, we will be able to educate, showcase, promote our beautiful gastronomy.
In November last year, we received an email from The Spanish embassy in Canberra, asking us if we could create a menu and cook it in Canberra as they were thinking in introduce the new Spanish ambassador here in Australia.
Obviously, we didn’t have any doubts in make it possible, what a great opportunity to show our gastronomy in Canberra and in front of others ambassadors!! We were really excited and honored to be able to create something special.
The first thing was creating the menu, we got in contact with all members thinking about what would be the best way to showcase our amazing product. We decided that I was going to be in Canberra cooking with the amazing team of the Pialligo Restaurant. It was very clear that I would love to fusion some natives Australian ingredients with some Spanish products, and in the end, I think that we achieve our goal. I got in contact with Mark Glenn, Executive Chef of Pialligo Restaurant, who was the person that was going to help me on the day and before getting my recipes, finding the product that we were going to use on the night and cooking on the day.
The day was very busy, I arrived in Canberra early in the morning and I went straight to the restaurant to meet Mark and his team, and see how the prep was going. We were all day working and finalizing any detail to have a memorable night.
At 6 pm, all of us were ready to start with the first course of the menu, which was our beautiful and tasty Iberico Jamon from Jamones Blazquez in Guijuelo (Spain) and delivery from our friends in Melbourne La Central, we served with zucchini pickles and Saltbush cracker (saltbush is an Australian native plant really deep flavour, salty, tasty), they clean the plates (the Jamon Iberico was sensational), after that, we went with a recipe of Mussels in Escabeche, one of the most known tapa in Spain with homemade chips. Then we went with the main dish, it was wagyu sirloin, with romescu sauce, rapini (our grelos) and grilled leek. And to finish the menu, one of our more typical desserts in Spain Basque Cheese Cake!
At the end of the event, they asked me to go out to do a speech as everyone was really impressed with how all dinner went, even the embassy had the chance to show on the dinner one of the first recipe videos that one of our members Iggy made cooking his traditional Valencian Paella. I just thank everyone to come here and try our food, and they came to congratulate me as all of them were surprised about the fantastic gastronomy we have in Spain.
It was such a beautiful experience!