“There is a salty wind”: Interview with the President of the Association of Restaurant Business José Antonio Álvarez
Mr. Alvarez! The association has now existed for decades. You must certainly be feeling the effects of the crisis. Tell us, please, how badly damaged the hotel industry and catering business is in Spain. Can you share a personal outlook of this field?
The crisis has hit the restaurant business, and all manufacturing industries of the country. This is primarily due to lowered power consumption, and this is the direct consequence of the high rate of unemployment in the country. Unfortunately, this situation has led to the fact that many of my companions did not survive and were forced to close their businesses. However, the region is popular for tourists, so we need to become more attractive and do not cease to grow.
We’ve heard about the public events organized by your association. What are they: fairs, exhibitions, presentations?
There are traditional food fairs, festivals, food and Spanish snacks tastings and snacks, for example, the week “Los Arroces de Torrevieja”, Gin and tonic & Cocktail Tour, Jueves Tapas Mahou… and many others. Starting last year we take a part in one of the most important gastronomic fairs in Spain – “Lo mejor de la Gastronomia”. Those wishing to attend are advised to visit the website www.torreviejagastronomica.es.
Why is Torrevieja so attractive amongst tourists from all over the world?
Torrevieja is a city on the coast, with excellent climate, first-class infrastructure, hospitals, sports facilities and three berths for marine tourism. Cultural events are held throughout the year. The city is strategically located in Vega Baja, between Alicante and Murcia, and only 30 minutes from Alicante airport. Visitors are close to the main shopping areas and entertainment centres, equipped with the best restaurants.
Mr. Alvarez, you can be called an expert in the restaurant business. Please, tell us about the features of Mediterranean cuisine. What would you recommend to try first of the national dishes, except paella and gazpacho.
I’ll say about Torrevieja. Torrevieja is a city with strong maritime roots; it is the home of fishermen, impregnated by the salty winds of the Mediterranean Sea. This gives us the opportunity to taste the thistle, goulash, soups of fish and seafood, try the full range of experience and enjoy the unique taste and aroma of rice (vapour, white, black, boiled in broth, etc.). Gardens and fields Vega Baja deserve specific words. They allow us to eat fresh fruits and vegetables, including legumes. And the proximity to Murcia gives us the opportunity to enjoy the national dishes of this region.
According to tradition, you can add anything you wish. For example, you can give advice to people, who are taking their first steps into the restaurant business.
First of all, you need a great desire, patience and willingness to devote yourself to the profession, where customers are a priority for you. All this is all feasible because of constant learning and improving your skills.
1. The crisis has hit the restaurant business, and all manufacturing industries of the country. This is primarily due to lowered power consumption, and this is the direct consequence of the high rate of unemployment in the country. However, the region is popular for tourists, so we need to become more attractive and do not cease to grow.
2. Gardens and fields Vega Baja deserve specific words. They allow us to eat fresh fruits and vegetables, including legumes.