Q&A with Andres Fernandez - Executive Chef

From Switzerland to Ibiza

Despite hailing from Bierzo in the north of Spain, Executive Chef Andrés Fernandez spent much of his childhood in Bern, Switzerland. At the tender age of 16, his family returned to Spain where his parents opened a restaurant. It’s no surprise that he finds himself rising in rank at 7Pines Resort Ibiza, after coming of age amongst the steaming pots and sizzling pans of the family business. A short holiday to Ibiza a few years ago had him hooked and he returned, with plans to stay just for one season but the island had other plans – as it often does.

"Andres passion for the culinary world started at the age of 13."

Tell us about your early experience in the kitchen?
When my family returned to Spain after living in Switzerland, I worked after school and during weekends at my parents’ restaurant. My father was in front-of-house and my mother did all the admin. We did home-style food, very typical of Bierzo and Galicia, where my family is from. It’s rustic and hearty with lots of seafood and shellfish stews and soups. It worked really well but my father missed Switzerland, so we moved back there and I enrolled in culinary school.

How was your experience at culinary school?
Well actually, it all started in secondary school. The first time I worked, I was 13 years old. I went into a program where you work and study. I chose to go into the kitchen. I liked it from the start. I love the pressure, the stress of service, the energy of the kitchen. I just knew I wanted that. So, in Switzerland I started my tertiary studies at culinary school. It was great. You work four days in a restaurant or hotel and have one day at college. While I was there I was working with a very good French restaurant and I learned to cook classic French food. That experience really set me up for the rest of my career.

What happened after you graduated?
After that, I started to travel. I went to work in St Moritz, the south of France and Monte Carlo. I started to enter the Michelin world because I always wanted to work in good places – I knew that’s where I would learn the most.

"My team is amazing and I have so much support from everyone in the company"

What brought you to Ibiza?
I first came to Ibiza for a holiday and to visit some friends. At that point, I was working in Holland at Pure C so it was just a holiday, but I really liked it here. A year later I took a break from Michelin restaurants. It’s super stressful, so you really need to make sure you don’t burn out. I came back to Ibiza to relax and to experience a different lifestyle; a Mediterranean lifestyle. I thought I’d just do one season then go work and travel in Asia to learn more about that cuisine. But then I met Markus Lueck – 7Pines Resort Ibiza General Manager and he told me about this project and here I am. I will still go to Asia one day!

Tell us about your trajectory at 7Pines Resort Ibiza.
I started here as chef de cuisine and became the second chef to the executive chef – his right hand, so to speak. Now I’m Executive Chef. It’s quite a big step but I feel good about it. I really wanted it and I think I am ready for it. If you want it and you have the dedication and you put the time in you will go up in position. My team is amazing and I have so much support from everyone in the whole company. I see it as a good challenge and I have the motivation and energy to get to work.

How do you relate to your team?
The team changes a bit because that’s the nature of seasonal work. The main team is always solid. In my kitchen, there is a lot of seriousness. That’s what I learned in Switzerland – discipline is a big thing there. Discipline and organisation are very important. During service, I am quite serious and focused, and I expect my team to be the same. But after service and during prep… it is the time for jokes and laughter.

"Here in Ibiza, there is an abundance of very good produce, which makes cooking a real joy"

What do you love most about your work?
I love so many things about my work. One of the most beautiful things is to create a new dish and to see people trying it and liking it. To put all the work and study into a new dish is very satisfying. I also love the ambiance in the kitchen. At 7Pines, we are so multicultural. We come from all over and I love the connection and the friendships you create in this kind of ambiance. There is something special in a kitchen team – working long hours together under a lot of pressure creates a special bond.

What do you find most challenging?
There are lots of challenges, it is part of the job and I don’t see them as challenges anymore. I guess one of the hard things is being able to transmit the way you like to work and the way you like things to be done, to other people. You have your standards and constantly improve them. Working seasonally is challenging because you don’t have the luxury of time. You must start high and maintain it under a lot of pressure, but I thrive in that kind of atmosphere.

How would you describe your style of cuisine?
I grew up in Switzerland and I worked abroad a lot, so my style is based in classic French cooking. Even so, I have a very international concept of cooking. I combine flavours from all over the world. There are dishes that are classics, but you have your own way with them and others that are more innovative. Here in Ibiza and Spain, there is an abundance of very good produce, which makes cooking a real joy

"There is always something new to discover about Ibiza"

What do you cook when you are at home?
My girlfriend loves to cook too and does most of the cooking at home. On the weekends, we go to the market to find good things. I love to cook everything. I’m really into seafood and fish, and I eat a lot of vegetable dishes using Asian flavours. My parents still live in Switzerland so I don’t get to cook for them much, but they will visit me here in Ibiza. I’ll be working so we’ll probably only get to have breakfast together!

What do you love about living in Ibiza?
I love living here. I love the landscape and the beaches. A typical free day in summer is a late breakfast then the beach and a chiringuito somewhere. When I’m not working, I’m a little bit of a tourist! It’s what I love to do. I grew up in Switzerland, so for me, the climate here is just amazing. I like to be outside as much as possible and to eat of course! I love the local cuisine and produce. There is always something new to discover about Ibiza.

To find out more about Andres Fernandez culinary approach, visit our restaurants. For table bookings contact the restaurant team:

E: restaurants.ibiza@7Pines.com    T: +34 663 67 34 39

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