December 15, 2019
A star in Santiago de Compostela
Her dishes have a Galician air to them, which is why they are a compilation of the winds from elsewhere. It is the inspiration this young cook conveys to her creations, rooted in two key elements of creativity: a decisive will, and the ability to use techniques in a balanced way that is fused with common sense, as stated by Adrià when defining the creativity of the 90s. Lucía belongs to a generation of women who forged a path for themselves right when the concept of a new kind of cuisine burst onto the scene in Spain. The 90s. The word spread about a new sort of cuisine, one that was different, limitless, filled with avant-garde ideas that came and went. It was so strong that, like a trail of gunpowder, it filled the hearts of the young, and forewarned veteran cooks. A cloud of flavours, aromas and textures enveloped a profession that was no longer anonymous nor the sole preserve of men who were not fans of evolution and even less of teaching. Enter the women. Thanks to this, Lucía Freitas, armed with courage, willing to learn and not afraid of working – this is a tough job - began a pilgrimage which demanded a love for cooking and, later on, to dream. Achieved. The 2000s. She began studying, a philosophy that defines this generation of cooks. In the Basque Country, in the foundations of cooking, in the depths of the sea. And with the sea air still clinging to her sleeves, she packed up her things. She had to move on, this was the start of the menu of her life. She began with desserts. In Barcelona, she learned from Jordi Butrón, now head of the Espaisucre school of restaurant desserts. She packed up again, taking her blank logbook to jot down ideas and splash her white chef’s jacket in Catalonia, another quintessential cog in the wheel of 21st Spanish cuisine. She learned, listened and filled her pilgrim’s backpack at Celler Can Roca, El Bohío, Mugaritz, and Tapies... A stint along the Mediterranean at Berns d’Avall and then home. It was time to go it alone. And so, this young Galician cook opened her restaurant called A Tafona in the heart of Santiago de Compostela, determined to work hard with everything she had accumulated in her backpack. Success and applause came quickly. As did the first Michelin star. And now, here is Lucía, experienced thanks to her personal life, enriched by her work, and aware that the pilgrimage is over. Her dishes now have the hallmark and credentials of a consummate cook, with measured amounts of imagination to give all her food balance. She offers dishes, such as hake from Celeiro; lamb, citrus and baby carrot roulade; her original sweetbreads with beetroot and cherries... But Lucía also gives a masterclass to diners on how to cook sweet and savoury neatly; dishes that have now certainly been recycled, renewed and imbued with new ideas. The best thing is that she is still at the beginning of a star-studded path.
Javier Pérez Andrés