López Canís, founder of Salón Gourmets: “You go to a restaurant to enjoy yourself and all they do is make you inconvenient”

Chat with Francisco Lopez Canis is to receive a concentrated master’s degree gastronomy. Some of his famous friends parade through the conversation, almost all of them chefs who have revolutionized the way of eating in Spain. Ironic and bold, the pioneer of gastronomic communication and founder of the Gourmets Hallquestions Yolanda Díaz’s proposal to put a limit on hospitality hours although recognizes that Spain must adapt “a little” to the European norm to avoid starting dinners at ten thirty at night.

The hospitality industry is very poorly paid“, recognize Lopez Caniswho at his splendid 86 years He openly criticizes what he calls the “dictatorship” of restaurants that impose shifts to eat, endless tasting menus and QR codes that are indecipherable for the elderly..

“When I started in gastronomy in 1976, we were four cats: Álvaro Cunqueiro, Nestor Luján, Luis Betónica and José María Castroviejo”, says López Canís, who entered the world of restoration after a failure as editor of a car magazine.

He then founded with his partner, Fernando Jovethe magazine ‘Club Gourmet’ to publicize “what the French call ‘nouvelle cuisine’ and which is nothing more than fresh market cuisine” and managed in record time to bring together the best chefs of the time to debate the direction of national gastronomy. The first were Juan Mari Arzak, Pedro Subijana, Martín Berasategui, the Roca brothers, Ferran Adrià and Juli Soler.

The first Gourmets Salon, in 1987

The magazine was joined by the now closed ‘Gourmetour’, the ‘Gourmet Wine Guide’ and In 1987, the first edition of Salón Gourmets emerged with only 62 participants. The gastronomic event par excellence in Europe has this year the intervention of more than 2,000 exhibitorswait for the visit of more than 100,000 professional buyers in a space where they will be exhibited more than 55,000 products on a surface of 65,000 square meters from Ifema.

Cooks and waiters “underpaid and exploited”

The panorama of that pre-autonomous time was very different from the current one: “Now everyone seems to be an expert in gastronomy,” ironically says López Canís, who, while criticizing that the second vice president, Yolanda Diazhas proposed limiting hospitality hours in Spain by law, recognizes that it would be necessary to improve the salaries of the “underpaid and exploited” cooks and waiters.

“Leisure in Spain is very cheap,” he considers while advising against the Spanish habit of dining so late: “Those are not hours, even though Spanish schedules are very peculiar due to the climate and our customs.”

For the founder of Gourmet Salon, The relationship with food and alcohol in Spain is “much healthier” than in the rest of the world.

Does the hackneyed formula that what is expensive is good work in gastronomy? “No, but he usually gets it right many times,” says López Canís, convinced that The great asset that Spain plays in the gastronomic world is the excellent quality of its products..

“Please put a tablecloth on the table”

After the covid health emergency, Lopez Canis regrets that the QR codes to read the cardssees “dramatic” the formulas of table reservation by email and refuses to go to restaurants that set shifts of meal. “I refuse to go to a restaurant that has lunch shifts.“he warns.

“You go to a restaurant to enjoy yourself and all they do is make you inconvenient,” he complains before reject another of the fashions of the moment: the endless tasting menus “with 14 courses that in the end you don’t know what you’re eating.”

“Have a tasting menu if you want but also always have a physical letter and please put a tablecloth on the table”, concludes López Canís.

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