Sotano Restaurant in York, nice opportunity to enjoy Spanish food by the chef Marta Jimenez
Those of you who follow me on social media will know that I recently visited the city of York with my family. The reason was none other than accepting the invitation from an Instagram follower, Chef Marta Jimenez
We did not know each other personally but our relationship on social media has become very close. Professionally, I have tried to approach her, attracted by her food and her passion for Spanish products. But neither, as director of Cinco Jotas in the United Kingdom or in the last company I worked for, did we have the opportunity to meet.
But we finally had the opportunity to be together. I wanted to start, with her, a series of interviews that I will be doing with my friends from the hospitality industry.
Marta’s vitality and strength has always surprised me. When we have been in contact through social media, I was already struck by her ability to fight. When I finally saw her and was able to hug her, I realised that everything I thought of her strength fell short to her actual strength.
Marta was born in 1952 in a small town in the north eastern part of Cuba. Her first memories are of the smell of the sea and of sugar as soon as she woke up each morning, since her family lived from the production and export of sugar cane.
Marta’s incredible story brings us to York where she now works in a Spanish restaurant. Her life has led her to live in Spain, Italy and even Morocco where she was working for one of the most important families of the country as a private chef. Sitting with her and listening to her talk about her life is priceless, each anecdote has something to learn from.
She has been a businesswoman and has run her own restaurants, which means she knows the business and controls the expenses of the products that she brings to the kitchen very well.
She speaks with great nostalgia of her time in Spain and has deep respect and admiration for a product, the jamón from Huelva.
Marta is a person who transmits affection when you talk to her, she could be the grandmother of each of the diners who go to her restaurant because the care and affection with which she received us is worthy of the best of grandmothers.
Talking with her you realise that she is not waiting to retire, she is dreaming of buying more time to continue enjoying life as she does.
She works hard like no one else, enters the kitchen early to prepare food day after day and does not leave the kitchen until the last order has been taken. Many things can be said about her kitchen but I would highlight as the most important thing, the love she puts into each of her creations.
Having cooked for the most demanding palates, she moves very well in the new modern kitchen and applies the latest techniques when necessary, but the reality is that her kitchen is unpretentious. Her kitchen could be defined by transparency, what you ask is what they will give to you, no gimmicks, no catches.
Her croquettes for example are from a recipe of hers that does not use the traditional bechamel. Always looking for the joy of your guests and therefore does not spare on product. If your croquette is jamón, you will find jamón in abundance.
If you are ever near York, be sure to stop by to greet my friends from the Sotano restaurant, I am convinced that the owners Karen and Andrew will welcome you with open arms. And of course, do not miss the opportunity to enjoy the cooked food with much affection for Marta.
Marta all my love to you and big thanks for the treatment received. The whole Sol family sends you a big kiss. Congratulations on being who you are!