October 25, 2018
Sense and naturalness
Few professionals in the gastronomy industry are as passionate about cooking as Begoña Rodrigo is. This passion has been part of her heart and soul from the moment she chose this line of work.
Begoña is enthusiastic by nature, aware of how difficult it was for her to reach such an elite level, which she achieved, needless to say, with hard work, sacrifice, and above all the ability to adapt – something she has shown throughout her career.
It was not easy at first, and she had to train abroad in countries like Holland or England, before returning to Spain.
Perhaps this nomadic way of life she had when starting became deeply rooted in her personal sensitivity, because it has given rise to the name of two of her premises.
After a brief stint at La Sucursal with Vicente Torres, she decided to open her own establishment, which she called La Salita. By using such a welcoming name, she saw it as a way to entertain and care for her customers as if they were in her own home. And that is exactly what it has been like over these more than 14 years since it opened.
At the beginning, there was too much noise in her creations; she used too many ingredients, giving rise to endless flavours and too much contrast. Impressions that disappeared, little by little, giving way to a more sensitive cuisine and one with deep thought behind it.
In that profound evolution that absorbs Begoña, it is clear that contemplation has brought about wise dishes that embody good taste, an eye for aesthetics, and clean and delectable flavours.
I was lucky to attend her workshop during the past edition of Madrid Fusión; she worked with vegetables from which she had previously extracted their liquid, endowing them with more flavour and texture. Work she had mulled over to lead her to create new dishes and convey new impressions.
If there is another virtue that Begoña has, and which should be pointed out, it is desire as a way of developing and growing professionally; this desire transports us to this constant evolution that flows through her dishes and her cuisine, in which there is always contrast, balance, fervour and refinement.
This year’s menu is filled with all of these impressions, which make us enjoy the experience in a way that moving and constant.
Impressions that can be found all through her new menu which she has called ‘La Rodrigo’.
This new menu showcases how the local cuisine, that of the surrounding area, is closely linked to her dishes. Highlights are the addition of traditional Valencian products such as pickles (made with a vinaigrette), vegetables from market gardens, and salted foods. And when it comes to novel ideas, she has successfully elevated Valencian cuisine.
She has new dialogue where produce such as eel, rabbit, and charcuterie from her hometown of Xirivella play a prominent role: It has to be said that Begoña works in a very contemplative, logical and wise way.
Pedro G. Mocholí