As an eight-year-old watching his mother cook, Fernando Gonzalez Garcia knew he wanted to be a chef.
“I feel like I was born to cook” says the 26-year-old Spanish chef who has worked in Madrid’s best restaurants since age 18.
Garcia shared his native cuisine with Lynn University during the first week of March as part of food service-provider Sodexo’s Global Chef program.
I feel like I was born to cook.
Fernando Gonzalez Garcia
“This International program highlights our continued focus on authentic global cuisine and diversity in menu offering,” says Brian Bowser, Lynn Dining general manager. “Lynn's continued support of globalization is a perfect backdrop for the Sodexo Global Chef program.”
Garcia brought his expertise and a “taste of Spain” to Lynn during a VIP reception for university employees, to guests during an admission event, and to students in the university’s Elmore Dining Commons during lunch.
The chef says his specialties are paella; all types of fresh, flaky white fish; oxtail and a variety of desserts. He incorporates delicate textures infused with Spanish influence into his dishes.
Reception attendees enjoyed a taste of tapas offerings: Melón con Jamón Ibérico (melon cubes with Iberico ham), Escalivada (smoked assorted grilled marinated vegetables), Rabo de Toro Estofado (pulled oxtail stew over potatoes gratin), Crema Catalana (Spanish creme brulee) and other delicacies.
Students sampled his signature Spanish dishes at stations throughout the dining commons, including Gazpacho, Paella Valenciana, Serrano and Chorizo Pizza, and Calamares a la Andaluza con Papas Bravas (calamari with potatoes).
Sodexo’s Global Chef program brings chefs to the United States on a four-week tour of select cafes and dining halls. Those chosen among a pool of talented and diverse chefs from 80 countries come to share their authentic native cuisine and culture. And in turn, they are exposed to North American culture specific to the region they visit.
This is Garcia’s first time in America and he’s had the opportunity to taste different foods from New Orleans Mardi Gras fare to Texas barbecue. He tries everything wherever he goes and enjoyed some of our American offerings for the first time, including waffles and hot pretzels.
“It’s great! I love America,” he says.