As a teenager, Spanish chef Paco Roncero (Madrid, 1969) discovered his calling by chance. It happened after a visit to a hotel management school. The young Roncero suddenly had a vision and at that time, he knew he wanted to cook and to be recognized as a professional in the field or gastronomy. "My father is in the military, and I always thought I would be too. It's funny how sometimes destiny dictates a different path and changes everything," he recalls.
Roncero has achieved his purpose. He is currently the advocate of a culinary research workshop unique in the world, executive chef and director of the Casino de Madrid and the gastro-bars Estado Puro. Additionally, he is the gastronomic consultant of Hong Kong's View 62 by Paco Roncero restaurant, a spectacular rotating platform located in one of the most iconic skyscrapers of the Asian city. As if that were not enough, he recently launched his most ambitious project: Sublimotion at the Hard Rock Hotel on the glamorous island of Ibiza, Spain. Considered the most expensive restaurant in the world, Sublimotion is the realization of one of Roncero`s fondest wishes, a place where cuisine, art, and technological innovation came together for a complete, emotional and novel experience.
Hailed as one of the greatest representatives of the current Spanish culinary scene, Paco Roncero has received three Suns from the Repsol Guide and two Michelin stars, and was awarded the 2005 Chef L'Avenir from the International Academy of Gastronomy, and Spain´s 2006 National Gastronomy Award.
His professional accomplishments are complemented by his human qualities. According to his colleagues and employees, Roncero is a loving, caring and generous person; someone who knows how to delegate and loves his job. In short, he is the boss everyone would like to work for. "I don’t consider myself an important person. I'm just someone pursuing my dreams and involving those around me to achieve our goals," says the famous chef.
Paco Roncero's cuisine success is the result of mastering the most advanced culinary techniques. His boundless creativity, innate sensitivity, capacity for innovation and love of research make him the chef to watch in Spain these days. The chef has made significant changes in the gastronomic vanguard and is always open to new ideas. "I think there is no food I would not try, including insects," says Roncero. "I also like traditional dishes like rice and Madrid stew, but if I had to choose, I'd prefer the beans with sausage my grandmother made in the village. I watched her put the pan on the stove at 8 am, and at 2 pm, they were still simmering. Now that's what I call cooking at low temperatures."
But his contributions to the culinary universe extend beyond the kitchen. In addition to his software "Kitchen Manager"— a program that improves performance in a gastronomic environment—he has also published three books: Snacks and Salads, Tapas in Pure State, and the award-winning Tapas and Cuisine of the Century. His most recent tome is Run, Cook and be Happy, which is the culmination of his physical and emotional voyage over the last few years. In 2008, Roncero began exercising after seeing the scale tip to a worrying weight of 268 pounds. "I worked more than 12 hours a day and had no time for my family and friends, not even for myself," he confesses. "Apparently I was happy for my professional success, but inside, I felt empty."
In the book, which includes more than 60 healthy and easy to prepare recipes, the author talks about his transformation, how his life took a 180-degree turn, and how he adopted a healthy diet and exercise routine that make him happy and fulfilled. The "new Roncero" ran several marathons and has lost more than 66 pounds. But above all, he has learned to enjoy food in a healthy way. His body has undergone a major transformation, and his outlook on life has changed. For his achievements and his new image, Roncero recently appeared on the cover of the Spanish edition of Men's Health magazine.
This star chef, as successful in his personal life as in his profession, makes a call and offers valuable advice. "I invite you to train and work hard to achieve your goals, without impositions, obligations or prejudice. If you have a dream or a goal, pursue it. Dreams can come true." ■
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