07 Feb Interview with Laura Castelblanque, GASMA student awarded by Frescamar
Laura Castelblanque Pardo is a young Valencian who is currently studying for a degree in Gastronomy and Management at the prestigious GASMA campus with a partial scholarship defrayed by Frescamar Alimentación.
The alliance of the aquaculture company and the university campus is starred by Corvina REX, Frescamar’s flagship product that accompanies Laura in her training and which, due to its flavor and culinary versatility, has become one of the favorite raw materials of the future chef.
Where that passion for cooking that has led you to direct your professional steps towards this sector is born?
There is no background in my family of professional dedication to the hospitality industry or anything similar but my grandmothers, who were excellent cooks, and a taste for good cooking that my parents passed on me since I was a child.
I was curious and, in my way, also felt certain admiration for the well-executed cuisine. When I was old enough to touch the stove, I started cooking at home and doing my “experiments”, searching for new recipes, but I did not decide to focus my education on this field until I was 17.
I have to say that it was not the first option. In fact, I studied dental hygienist although I soon realized that it was not the profession that made me feel fulfilled.
I decided then to leave for the USA to improve my English with the idea of studying there something related to gastronomy but finally, I found GASMA and fell in love with this campus.
What attracted you the most about GASMA and what do you value the most about their education offer today?
In the beginning they were its subjects and, later, I was captivated by its facilities, both for its environment (it is surrounded by an impressive garden with almost 250 species of trees and plants) and for its equipment.
The link with CEU Cardenal Herrera, a recognized institution, also made me opt for GASMA because it was what convinced my family.
Today, at the middle of my university degree, the fact that the classes are formed by small groups is something that I value enormously because it allows a very personalized attention and a much greater interaction both among the classmates and with the teachers.
What are your sources of inspiration when it comes to cooking
I like travelling and there are always traces of my trips in gastronomic terms but without a doubt, my two grandmothers are an essential part of my learning.
My maternal grandmother, from Madrid, instilled in me the passion for cocido – still today I am still for “soups” – and, regarding my paternal line, my Valencian grandmother taught me about the rice, being the Valencian paella and the arròs en fesols i naps my favorites, also today.
I have the great good fortune of having both of them by my side and being able to enjoy their stews almost every week.
How was that little girl Laura’s relationship with food?
As a child I was a very good eater. I have had the good fortune of having my parents taking me to good restaurants since I was a little girl, and I greatly enjoyed those dishes more typical of adult palates.
I have grown up surrounded by the excellent products of the Marina Alta cuisine given that we have always spent the summer in Denia (Alicante) and since I was a little girl I enjoyed those incomparable flavors.
Maybe it was the germ of that mixture of curiosity and attraction for the cuisine that still remains in me today.
Where do you imagine yourself when you finish your studies?
In addition to the cuisine, I also like the dining room a lot and, in fact, on weekends I am already working at Jardines El Poblet in Denia and I feel tremendously fulfilled.
I like the protocol and the organization of events and, in general, the direct contact with customers.
On the other hand, I love travelling and as in GASMA I have colleagues from more than fifty nationalities, I am sure that this will allow me to know other places, learn from their culinary culture and apply it in my kitchen.
Also, I would like to set up my own business in the future and, in that sense, I consider that the subjects of economics and administration as well as those related to advertising and marketing will be very useful for me.
Of those other culinary cultures, what flavors attract you the most?
Although I still have a lot to know, I really like the Peruvian cuisine and the corvina ceviche was already one of my favorite dishes before my relationship with Corvina REX.
But I am without doubt for Mediterranean cuisine.
How would you define your style when it comes to cooking?
I like elaborate cooking but I also love being able to prepare simple dishes where raw materials shine.
I prefer more fish and seafood than meat and I try to make sure that the healthy aspect is present in each recipe.
On the other hand, the trompe l’oeil in cuisine seems very interesting to me as elaboration and very attractive also for the diner because of that surprise effect that they entail.
Which preparation of Corvina REX you love most?
I love it raw -either in ceviche or tartare- and I usually prepare it together with avocado and / or wakame seaweed, but cooked in the oven with a simple garnish is also a pleasure for the senses.