Her face is blocked by a huge smile and contagious joy in no way betrays the long struggle having taken the top of the Spanish cuisine. Dominican Maria Marte denies that trafficking of Cinderella, but the nickname sticks to the skin. "Behind all this there is a lot of fighting and work, this is not a fairy tale," said the head of Allard Club in Madrid, one of the 21 restaurants two star Michelin Guide 2015 Spain and Portugal .
Petite brunette with dark skin, Maria Marte left there is only twelve years Jarabacoa, city inland Dominican Republic, surrounded by a mountainous landscape of waterfalls and rivers. "I took off in search of a visa for a dream," she said, paraphrasing the singer Juan Luis Guerra, Dominican as she and star of the Latin American song.
She was then 27, was a mother of three and landed at the Club Allard plunges to it - like thousands of immigrants. Passionate about cooking, the daughter of a baker and a neighborhood restaurant says she watched as cooks with jealousy, dreaming of being "the other side" like them. Until one day his friend the valet tells him that a place was freed in cooking and encouraged him to apply, just three months after being hired. His first attempt was unsuccessful. But the second, successful. A hard condition, however: it continues to plunge.
"I took it as a challenge," she says. "My life was just a race," she recalls, describing her days where she chained kitchen committed service then dives, lunch and dinner ... while battling away to recover custody of two of her children back home.
"Sometimes I could not go home," she said, citing sleep beaches there, between cases.
Six months later, the chef Diego Guerrero ruled: "He said 'this lady is good for cooking, you have to get out of the dive," said Maria Marte.
"Diego Guerrero (...) told me it was a great enthusiast, it is always renewed and had a lot of force," said recently Martin Berasategui, the Spanish chef with the most stars.
|Image by: maridajegourmetymas.com|
The Hibiscus flower.
Maria Marte is then passed by all parties - pastries, cold storage, meat, fish - and all levels of the very hierarchical world of cuisine: clerk, cook, party leader, becoming second (e ) Diego Guerrero, at a time when the restaurant was climbing in the rankings (one star in 2007, second in 2011). And then suddenly, Diego Guerrero went in October 2013, a traumatic moment for the restaurant. Very quickly, the chef took control and saved the club. It launched a few months twenty creations, "she renewed the card and every dish she invented was a success," says the restaurant manager of forty persons, Luisa Orlando.
"Some critics do not trust him. She nailed their mouths when Michelin confirmed the two stars," recalls David Moralejo, editor of the culinary magazine Tapas Magazine.
Maria Marte is now the head and leads a brigade of 16 chefs working in harmony. "They say they are happy cooks. Why? Well, because I'm the first to be happy and I will convey them" this, she said. On the walls, near the kitchen, it posted its slogans: "creative", "artisan", "delicate", "close", "funny". Maria, built between furnaces and sweets, preserves the memory of his childhood flavors, such as sweet of her mother papaya jam. She explains create a Mediterranean cuisine which denies nothing caraïbéennes its roots and leaves room for spices, but without disguising the original flavor of the product.
One of his first creations, "the hibiscus flower liqueur pisco and pistachio crumble," sums up the inspiration of the Dominican chief: "This is my land, my origins, a flower, delicate ... ". One woman two stars Madrid, Maria Marte "is mostly an excellent cook," which is expected to go "a long way," says David Moralejo. The restaurant already has the second highest score in Madrid on the website Tripadvisor advice to travelers. The chief wants a third Michelin star one day. But already "I get up and I go to bed with a smile" every day, she said happily.