Not all magic comes in flowers and rabbits. Sometimes magic can also happen in the most mundane of habitats: the kitchen. Capes for toques, hands for wands and meals for tricks. Chefs can juggle with ingredients, create magical explosions in other people’s mouths, and surprise even the most demanding palates.

Our own personal magician is called Carlota Bonder, born and bred in the magical island of Ibiza and educated in the art of cooking by the best teacher one could have: her own mother. Vivid and friendly, Carlota was that girl sneaking into restaurant’s kitchens, talking to chefs and looking for opportunities to get into this amazing world. She became a scullion in between fires at the age of 15, washing dishes, bartending and serving tables.

Her dream? Reach the stars, but literally. In 4 years she expects to have acquired a prestigious Michelin star; that yearned award only the best restaurants and chefs are granted a few times throughout their career.

How would you describe your style

Fresh and tasty. I try to use local products, Km0 ingredients and seasonal food. Above all I like to mix Mediterranean gastronomy with asian. I have trying this and that and obviously evolving.  I have been in the Spanish university in the Basque Country doing a course. Also at the Bella Arts university in Barcelona.

I have also done a japanese master class and I am always reading up to date stuff and renovating. I also like all this new thing about raw food, vegan cuisine, vegetarian… I am working a lot on this these days.

Is there something you don’t like dealing with?

What I don’t like cooking with is blue cheese: the really strong one you know? It is a product that I don’t have at home nor at the kitchen.

You are a master in…

All sorts of vegetables and fish. Sashimi, tataki, ceviche, tartar… they are my forte.

How would you conquer our stomachs?

My signature dish would be the tuna tataki. The salmon tartar with loquat and passion fruit as well. Or even maybe beetroot gazpacho. I like to mix citrus with acid, crunchy and with different textures so that there is an explosion in the mouth in every bite. I don’t want my dishes to be flat and boring. I like that in every spoonful there is a surprise; in every dish an experience.

What do Bonder clients usually ask for at the villas?

Clients ask for a healthy menu. Organic food that does not contain any additives, that is natural, fresh…many salads, smoothies, detox juices and nonfats.

 

What does Carlota Bonder cook home on a Monday night?

In my kitchen you will find all sorts of mustards, oils, spices… everytime I travel it is the first thing I buy! Instead of buying myself a bag I buy spices haha I buy spoons, knives, plates… This year I acquired a new marble crockery from Macael.

And at home… If I am honest… Should I tell you what I had for dinner yesterday night? I had scrambled eggs. Maybe a slice of bread with tomato… I usually don’t cook at home.

The shoemaker’s son always goes barefoot!

Right now for instance, I have some time but I don’t feel like it. Maybe if I have the day off I make some barbecued turbot.

 

Where do you want to go?

I want to go to Japan right now! Spend one or two months wandering around.

Best food you’ve ever tried

I really enjoyed New York. Morocco as well.

What drove you to appear in Spain’s Top Chef?

I signed up because I am a big fan of the show. So I saw it online and applied! I told myself “Bah, they are not going to call” but they did!

I did the initial paperwork casting and I passed. Then I did a casting in front of the cameras and passed again. I finally succeeded in the cooking casting and became one of Top Chef’s 2015 contestant. I didn’t stay for long but the short time I was there I gained a very valuable and incredibly positive experience. Very good for my career and for my future. I was and still am very happy that they chose me: such an honor!

Did it change you in a way?

It has indeed changed me a little bit: in the preparation and technique. I am more demanding with myself.

Where will we see Carlota Bonder in a few years time?

 

I want to have my own food truck, my mini restaurant. I am going to do it! I am going to have my own baby in order to accomplish my dream which is having my own Michelin star and be able to cook for everyone. 

“The art of cooking is so broad that you cannot stop learning”

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