November 23, 2018
The granddaughter of a cook and a fisherman, and the daughter of restaurant owners, Elena Lucas grew up at the stove and always knew that she would clatter about among pots and pans. That’s why she studied at the Hospitality and Catering School of Castile and León before returning to the family premises, the restaurant La Lobita, in the town of Navaleno, at the foot of the eponymous mountain that can be seen from the window of the dining room.
And once there, she dedicated herself to doing what she knew best: Cooking. It’s true that she didn’t do it alone. Her parents and, of course, her partner, Diego Muñoz, have always been at her side. He runs the front of house and manages the wines, doing so with knowledge, impeccable manners and extreme professionalism, and which explains, to a large extent, why a cuisine a contemporary as Elena’s enjoys such an open-armed reception and understanding in a rural corner of the region of Soriana de Pinares.
Because what Elena offers is not what one would expect in a place like hers. Not at all. This cook at La Lobita creates seasonal cuisine with a very dynamic tasting menu, always linked to what the natural environment offers, but very cutting edge technically and with stylized presentations. At times it is risky, but as a whole it is totally authentic.
Her dishes invite us, in effect, to walk through Soria’s seemingly endless fields, vibrant woods and solitary mountains. She is an expert when it comes to working with mushrooms and truffles, which, little by little, are moulding a singular personality in Soria’s gastronomy, and they shine in particular on her spring and autumn tasting menus (something that for fans of the local cuisine have become events to celebrate). But there’s not only that. She also works together with the artisanal growers of her surroundings, bringing to the table the flavours that are part of the environment which has always been enveloped her. She is, and feels that she is, a cook of her land.
She has much to offer and a boundless path ahead; solid foundations, authenticity in her culinary DNA and a good dose of boldness are, in short, the elements via which we can best understand this cook whose rise to Michelin fame surprised everyone at the time: La Lobita was the first restaurant in Soria to be awarded a star by the French tourist guide, but it has, since then, more than proven its worth.
By Miguel Ángel Rincón