Juanan Martinez is a born and bred Ibicenco, a seasoned traveler, a passionate food and wine buff and the manager of Pacha Restaurante. We discovered that he loves a chat (in five languages, no less!) when we caught up with him recently to find out a little more about his passions….
What inspired you to get into this business?
My father – who owned restaurants in Ibiza and Formentera – was a great chef and so is my brother. Food has always been a big thing at home, and where there is good cooking there is always good wine! I started out working in Pacha, then El Divino and when I returned from working in restaurants in Germany (where I really got motivated to learn about the business) in 2001, I worked for Pacha again… and now, here I am, still working for the brand.
What do you like most in your job?
Meeting people everyday and having a bit of a laugh really makes me happy. Working in the catering trade is something you must love – customers can tell if you don’t like your job. It’s very important to give good service and always be present.
What about wines – you must have a favourite, a recommendation?
I have so many – I like all wine! In the last few years I’ve enjoyed Catalan reds and whites from New Zealand and Australia. I try to encourage wine tastings here because In Spain there are two wine illnesses: Rioj-itis and Riber-itis. If they aren’t from Rioja or Ribera people think they are not good. There is never a bad wine, maybe you don’t like it, but it is never bad.
Do you have to travel to other regions for wine tastings?
I travel a lot for work, to food and wine tastings, to become aware of new developments in both sectors. Ibiza is a very cosmopolitan place where you can sell almost everything, but to be able to cater to all these people one has to see what is there around the world. I’m very lucky because in the last ten years I have been everywhere, USA, Asia, Europe. I still have more than a thousand trips I want to do in my head!
What do you love about living in Ibiza?
I have always been very passionate about Ibiza, although I had great experiences living abroad I have always felt Ibicenco. I love the island and living here now. Everything is a stone’s throw away. When you live in a big city you have to get up four hours before to get to the airport or set out an hour before to go anywhere. There are lots of people that don’t realise the quality of life they have here. We should look after the island much more.
Where do you see the future of island tourism?
If we want people to talk about Ibiza we need to improve hospitality, prices, service, restaurants. Everything has to be perfect, so when people come they are wowed. If people come to Ibiza in April and find everything closed, it’s not good. It’s a shame to go to Playa den Bossa in winter because it’s such a wonderful beach but all the venues are closed. People don’t go there because everything is closed and everything is closed because nobody goes there. It is a vicious circle. I believe the island has a lot to offer winter tourism, so let’s do something to attract the people. I understand we can’t have eight golf courses, but let’s build at least another one… or two!