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Restaurant Azafrán is run by master chef Teresa Gutiérrez. This top-notch dining spot is situated in the city of Villarrobledo, Spain. The area is famous for its vineyards and special events, such as the Carnival and the ViñaRock Music Festival. Teresa has worked in an array of renowned restaurants, has made several TV appearances as a chef, and is Ambassador of the DOP Azafrán de La Mancha. We talked with her about gastronomic trends, her favourite dish, and her love for sheep cheese from La Mancha.
Teresa, can you tell us a little bit about your background?
I opened my restaurant Azafrán in October 2008. Although I started studying dentistry, I always wanted to be a chef. So in my fourth year of university, I left everything behind for my dream. It was a difficult decision, but I’m very happy to have taken this path. I studied at the Valencia Hospitality School and before opening my restaurant I worked in places like El Faro del Puerto (Cádiz), Las Rejas (Las Pedroñeras) and Albacar (Valencia).
How would you describe your cooking style?
Traditional cuisine from La Mancha, but slightly updated and without any excess of modernity. I really like recovering old recipes and adapting them to a restaurant setting.
Although I started studying dentistry, I always wanted to be a chef
What's your favourite dish to make?
Any sweet dish. To me, pastry is an art in itself: it’s a kitchen protagonist that deserves its own, separate chapter. I don't understand why so many cooks don't like making desserts.
What is your favourite ingredient to work with?
Saffron from La Mancha. This spice characterises my land and restaurant, and it’s an essential in my kitchen. If you use Saffron from La Mancha correctly, every dish becomes much more elegant, and much more typically La Mancha.
Who is one of your top suppliers or producers?
It is difficult to name just one, as I have many suppliers with must-haves. But I can tell you about my neighbour and her wonderful artisan sheep cheeses from La Mancha, which I can’t ever miss in my kitchen restaurant. Cheese is one of the star products in La Mancha, and the ones my neighbour makes are special. They’re called Quesos Artesanos Serrano Flores.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your culinary career?
Participating in the TV series Top Chef Spain. I was very afraid that it would not turn out well or create a certain image that I wouldn’t like. But in the end, it was a very positive experience.
Which gastronomic trend are you excited about the most?
The return to traditional cuisine. Traditional dishes identify us in the same way as the environment that surrounds us, so why look for recipes from far away places? Traditional cookbooks are very rich and wonderful.
If you could only eat one dish for the rest of your life, what would that be?
I would eat only bread and cheese. I love all types of bread and all types of cheese. I could easily eat those every day.
Thank you, Teresa.
Book your table at restaurant Azafrán
Ready to indulge in the modern Manchega cuisine of chef Teresa Gutiérrez? No problem. You can simply book your table at restaurant Azafrán in Villarrobledo with us.