Vicky Sevilla learns fast.
But she thinks long term.
Her success at Arrels, the restaurant she opened five years ago in Sagunto, already has a Michelin star, which says a lot about her personality.
She knew that she had a creative streak at a very young age.
She is also competitive.
In adolescence she was torn between artistic high school and sports, as a central defender, playing soccer.
But when she was 17 years old, she left her town, Quart de les Valls (Valencia), for Formentera, where a friend found her a job in a restaurant and her life took on a new meaning.
"Victoria, don't let them kick you out," her mother told her.
And from not knowing what to do, she went on to carve out a future that required training.
She did not know what a star chef was when she entered that world in which she today has a lot to say and where she later opened her own place, at the age of 25.
Little by little he was proving his worth.
First as a revelation chef from the Valencian Community, then by opting for discovery at Madrid Fusión, later with a sol from the Repsol Guide and last year, at just 29 years old, when she achieved a Michelin star.
She tells it in the inner courtyard of those 16th-century stables that Vicky Sevilla has turned into a Valencian gastronomic reference.
You were going for an artist or athlete and…
I played football, central and everything.
I come from a
family , we live in a very small town.
As a child, my mother was told that she could do whatever she wanted.
But as a teenager I lost interest.
I lost interest in my life.
I wanted to study an artistic baccalaureate.
But at 17 she was a
: neither working nor studying.
Did you cook, at least?
No, but my mother is very good at it.
My parents make paella together.
He embroiders the sofrito;
she, the broths.
The rice, they nail it, the truth.
You came to that later.
I took a physical education course, a middle grade.
Since I liked the sport, I looked for paths there, but I also left it.
I got into sociocultural animation, well, you see, to dress up as a clown.
Was the future reduced to tomorrow morning?
Yes, I did not think about the future.
I don't remember either, huh.
Vicky Sevilla, photographed in the streets of Sagunto.Gianfranco Tripodo
Since when do you not remember?
Or is it that she wanted to forget him?
No, man, there are many stages that yes.
There are people who find it difficult to find their way.
And another that chooses the one that is not yours, eye.
I didn't want to settle for something that didn't make me happy.
In other words, it cannot be said that you were nini, but rather that you had ambition for something more.
You can say that… Yes. I didn't know it was possible to work in the kitchen like I do.
I knew the cooks from the bars in my town, older people who made lunches.
But I didn't know what a food critic was or who Ferran Adrià was.
I didn't know that people travel thousands of miles to eat at certain restaurants.
When I started in the kitchen, I started doing mechanical things, what they told me, I learned.
What happens is that I had a boss… Can you say tacos?
It can and should be.
Well, quite a tricky boss.
That's what you said.
Total, a guy who made me feel pretty bad because he was not right to do things.
He still ordered me to cut the
tomato and I had no idea.
Me neither, how is it?
Without skin, squared.
These are things that, if you teach me, I'm going to do, but he told me: you're not worth this.
So I decided to train.
Even so, I continued working there because a phrase from my mother had stuck with me.
She told me: “Please, Victoria” —my mother calls me Victoria—, “don't let them kick you out”.
Well, there you have two phrases that mark you.
On the one hand: "You're shit and you're not good for this."
On the other: “Please, don't let them kick you out…”.
I am quite stubborn.
And from what you can see, at a given moment I discovered that I could achieve whatever I set my mind to.
That was one of the cool things I learned in Formentera.
They made me responsible for the cold room, where starters and desserts are made, in the second year.
With three people in my charge.
And I was 18 years old.
And all because a bastard told me that he didn't know how to do anything.
We are already in confidence.
She has dropped the cue.
Now I have said it, so you can put it.
Have you seen him again?
Even if it's to thank you.
Who I thank is the friend who got me a job in Formentera.
Until then I did not finish what I started.
Did she discover herself then?
Don't believe me, I still know myself, huh.
People change and evolve.
But from then on, out of pride or courage, which I didn't know I had so much, I comply.
And it helps me to leave home, support myself, be independent.
I find out what I can do with my life.
That hooks me.
The feeling of pride or knowing what it's worth?
That and the adrenaline of the kitchen.
Today I know that it could be used for many jobs.
I am not afraid to fail.
Vicky Sevilla, rewarded by the Repsol Guide and the Michelin Guide, in Sagunto.Gianfranco Tripodo
Okay, he's not afraid to fail.
And now, with a Michelin star, are you afraid of succeeding?
I think you have to work for yourself.
I have no partners.
My mission is to keep the restaurant open and not go bankrupt.
I am alone with the bank.
Look, at the age of 18 she earned 1,800 euros, although the hours were three.
But at the time, I thought: what are you doing, Vicky.
You work and earn money or you train.
I came to the Peninsula to study and work at the same time for 600 euros.
He had decided to learn.
I worked in taverns, in a gastrobar.
I went with Begoña Rodrigo in La Salita and did an internship in Saiti.
After that I decided to open the restaurant because of my wife.
Was he already married?
With 23 years and, for now, I continue.
He listened to his wife and opened the restaurant.
She went from employee to boss.
That was the hardest thing for me.
Didn't they teach you that in school?
To that, no.
Luckily everything worked fine.
Although in Spain, unfortunately, it is quite difficult to undertake.
More if with 25 years you do not have savings.
I imagine the face of someone who, when he entered the bank to ask for a loan, told him about his case.
How was she?
Nothing, he laughed in my face and then tried to rip me off by offering me an unaffordable four-year personal loan.
I threatened them with taking my and my family's accounts and in the end they granted me an ICO loan, which is assumed by the State.
They don't win or lose, I felt very bad and I still remember it.
Once with the money, what did he do?
I wanted first to open a restaurant in my town.
My idea was to set up something informal and a gastronomic place at the same time in a house that I wanted to reform.
But they asked me for 30,000 euros in black.
And I didn't have black, or white, or any color.
So I ruled out the option and said: Well, if it's not in my town, let it be close.
And I found this place, eight kilometers from there.
Some 16th century stables from the Palace of the Dukes of Gaeta at half the price of the unreformed house.
And it started...
I was clear about the goal, but also that I couldn't start there.
He had to set up a viable restaurant.
That goal, where is it?
The goal is to fill the restaurant.
What I do now.
When you entered the school in Castellón, did they tell you who Ferran Adrià was?
I was obsessed with how to create dishes.
That man, I thought, how does he get there?
But what a food critic is, I find out when I open the restaurant.
It's that these things, that there are critics and agencies, I find out here.
From the shed?
That, I didn't know anything.
I was intrigued.
In fact, I take social networks.
I have 13,000 followers.
Then came turning points.
Like when I was nominated for young revelation chef of the Valencian Community and I won it.
Is that where you start to succeed?
To succeed, no.
To locate the restaurant in the region.
I did zero.
Sometimes two or four.
That is to say, not even God came during the week.
But on the weekend it was packed.
I started with three menus.
One for 15 euros, another for 27 and another for 37. People told me that it was expensive.
Then I have evolved over time.
With a Michelin star you won't charge that?
No, but now, what I offer is a consequence of my evolution.
And how do you define your kitchen?
Who are you now?
Wait, we got off track a lot.
Ah, okay, sorry, I've thrown myself.
Now I tell you everything.
You calm down.
I started with a super low offer.
I could not start with a menu of 92 euros.
I'm ruined, I'm in a town.
As I was saying, it is the product of evolution and recognition: the revelation award from the Valencian Community is followed by the Bib Gourmand also from Michelin, I was nominated in Madrid Fusión for revelation chef, although I did not win, but it places me nationally.
Then comes a Sun Repsol and then the star...
Which places it internationally.
So what is the idea behind your kitchen?
Well, now is what I wanted to tell you.
I insist that the objective is to fill the restaurant.
When I started, I had a clear idea in my head of what I was after.
For that, the 15-euro menu was fundamental.
People tried it and said: Ah, it's good... I'm coming over the weekend with my wife to try the other menu.
Match by match.
Like Cholo Simeone.
Is it from Aleti?
No, I'm from another team.
But I can't say, that people won't come.
We return to your initial idea.
Now I'm doing what I set out to do.
A tasting menu with good products, seasonal cuisine, with memory, with roots.
I have creativity, I am sure of myself.
I don't mind if they copy a recipe because I make up another one... I use a lot of technique, but I like the stew.
I am between the extreme of elBulli or the most traditional.
What are your references now?
I really like Begoña Rodrigo because I've seen her grow up and she has a lot of creativity.
Jordi Vilà, from Alkimia, a great cook.
I love Pepe Solla, Javier Olleros, Dabiz Muñoz: one of the few people who can make sense of 25 elements on the same plate.
And now his wife, what does she say?
Well, she tells me that she was sure I was going to do well, but not so well.
And your mother, with that "Victoria, please, don't get kicked out"?
The truth is that it catches me
Like when you were a girl and you played with dolls.
Played with dolls?
No, I played Play Mobile.
And to soccer.
I imagine a restless girl.
Yes, I moved quite a bit.
When they gave you the Michelin star, what did you feel?
Was she waiting for her?
Let's see, by parts, you ask me many questions.
I always say that you cannot live thinking that you are going to get a star because it may or may not.
Michelin I love it.
But it is a private organization.
You have your criteria.
I think I share his philosophy.
If you ask me if I am afraid of losing her, for now, no.
Michelin demands that you do things well, the whole, the details.
And I do.
A restaurant is a whole: the kitchen, the room, the wine, the staff, the crockery, the glassware.
Let's go to the gala, when they gave him the star...
I was very nervous.
I don't know how to describe the emotion.
On the one hand, you take a weight off your shoulders.
Poof… Holy crap!
Nothing happens, don't cut it.
Well, hell, you think, all the hours you've been in there, you know, have been worth it.
It's a relief.
Did you feel the next day that your life had changed?
It is that you were 29 years old.
I don't see myself as young anymore.
I see myself as a 50-year-old woman locked in a 30-year-old body.
Nooooooo, just kidding!
What I want to tell you is that age is a number.
I have always been a fairly mature aunt for my age.
I have been in the kitchen for 13 years.
I haven't just started.
Is motherhood compatible with cooking?
Yes… Before opening the restaurant I was clear about the hours I should have because I already knew I wanted to start a family.
It was very important to get viability, fill the restaurant to get that schedule and reconcile.
I had it all well planned, then.
She says you're very passionate, but you know how to calculate.
If you want to call it that… You look at life differently.
But since I started in this.
I quit football because I thought that if I got injured I wouldn't be able to work.
In 10 years then, where do you see yourself?
I want to have a restaurant with rooms where you can sleep.
I would like to in my town, but it is quite complicated.
Any day they will call her to go to
What do you think of stardom in her world?
Let's see… The television thing is fine.
The fact that the trade can be made visible seems positive to me.
Now, I always say that they should show the good and the bad.
And now you ask me: what is good and bad?
What is good and bad?
Well, this is a stressful job.
I don't know about the others, but this…, a constant stress.
You burn with the fire, you cut yourself.
I haven't had a weekend off since I was 17, but it doesn't bother me.
I have sacrificed things in my life.
Time with my grandmother, for example.
He hasn't told me about his grandmother.
I think I am the person I am because of her.
Everybody loved her.
She died at the age of 99.
The best person I have ever met.
Very very good person.
Sometimes I hear her voice: "Victoria, don't do that"...
Be kind and humble.
My son, who is a good person and worker.
My wife is also a very good person.
She is a pharmacist and nutritionist.
She helps me in the administrative part.
On the subject of bills.
She is very intelligent my wife.
Do you eat everything?
Everything… I love to eat, it's the best thing in the world.
Eating is my biggest hobby.
I have that luck.
And I have allergies, uh, for example, to shellfish.
But the rest, like everything else.
Also… And it works out well for me, but we don't work on it because here everyone prefers the one from home and it's complicated.
It is that here, in Valencia, in that we are
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