Meet the chef: Lucía Ferrer, Agroturismo Atzaró

With each and every year of service, the cuisine at beautiful Agroturismo Atzaró goes from strength to strength. As the venue and its discerning clientele grow, wellness is at the heart of its ethos – and this includes the kitchen, who work with a farm-to-table concept and now pride themselves on offering fresh, healthy and organic menus, from breakfast through to lunch, dinner and dessert. Highly trained head chef Lucia Ferrer is passionate about healthy food – not merely because it is a global trend, but because she lives it, she loves it and she wants to share it with the hotel and restaurant guests.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m Catalan, I’m 34 and I studied at the prestigious Hofmann school in Barcelona – the only school in the whole of Europe whose restaurant has held a Michelin star since 2004. I came a little late to becoming a chef compared to others, as before I studied at Hofmann I worked in the world of fashion.

How would you define your style of cuisine?
My cuisine is simple and very healthy, with the emphasis on the ingredients. I know this is very fashionable at the moment, but it’s simply what I like – I like to know where the tomato I’m working with came from, I like to know that the tuna I am using is sustainable and that there is enough of that certain type of tuna still left in the sea. It makes things a bit more complicated but it’s my job. If the tuna is not sustainable we won’t use it. I also feel that you don’t have to spend a fortune to eat well. I was a make-up artist before I was a chef and I always said then that you don’t have to spend too much money to do things well, and I feel the same way about food.

Who or what inspired you to become a chef?
I was working doing make-up and photography and I lived for a few seasons here in Ibiza – it was kind of a practical thing, I decided I needed to do something more, but I had to see what that was. I wanted to study at a higher level, for myself, and the people around me used to say, why don’t you study to become a chef because you’re a really good cook? And I thought, if I had to stand in front of a grill at a chiringuito all day I’d die, but I guess there are other positions I could do! So I looked for the best school and it developed from there…

How did you come to be working at Atzaró?
I knew of it before, as I had done lots of seasons in Ibiza and had been coming here with my parents for birthdays and things, and then one of my best friends started to work here. He started as a waiter – now he’s the director. While I was studying he asked me to lend a hand, I came and helped out and the rest is history! While I was studying I worked in the Michelin-starred Hofmann restaurant and when you leave there, you leave very well-prepared, so I was ready for my role here.

Where else have you worked as a chef?
I’ve been a personal chef in Palm Beach, in the Bahamas, in the Sydney Opera House, in central America, in Switzerland too. I almost always cook Mediterranean or French cuisine when I am working in other places in the world, but I do like other cuisines. For example I love the Caribbean vibe. I love spicy food and ceviche…

What is your signature/star dish?
I love cooking all different types of food but I especially love to work with fish. I also really enjoy making salads, and in general I love to make dishes with lots of colour. I love colour and I love food that is very, very fresh. I don’t think I really have a signature dish but these are the things I most identify with.

What is the dish that is ordered most on your menu?
There are so many! The menus change every week and everything sells well! That said, people order our homemade focaccias a lot, and we sell a lot of steak tartare.

What are your favourite restaurants in Ibiza? Where do you go when you are not working?
There are so many in Ibiza. I love La Paloma Cafe. I like classic cuisine, like my grandmother’s cooking, homemade. I go to Salvadó a lot. It’s tremendous. It’s in a macia on the beach at Pou des Lleó. They have a little boat and they catch the fish there every single day. It’s divine! I also go to Es Pins – their ‘arroz de matanzas’ is incredible, and Ca’s Pagès too. All the places I go to are very rustic. I don’t really go to luxury beach clubs and that type of thing. It’s just not me.

What do you like most about living in Ibiza?
I like to travel and I like that living here allows me to travel a lot. I go away every winter. I’ve lived in Menorca, which I like a lot, and I love Formentera too. I love Spain, I love the food, I love the people, I love that I can live in the countryside here, and there are such fantastic opportunities here in Ibiza for my profession. And of course, most importantly, I love the sea!