22:56 • 12 ene. 2021
Raúl Martín López is a hospitality entrepreneur from Almería and after living in London, Madrid and Barcelona he returned, setting up his restaurants. His time at MasterChef marked a before and after.
When did you start in the hospitality industry?
All my life I have dedicated myself to the hospitality industry, although I have worked more outside of Almería. I have been in London, Madrid and Barcelona for a long time. Hence, a little, the idea of the kitchen that we have brought to Almería.
What cuisine is it about?
It is a more modern kitchen, a more modern kitchen, where we put grilled meat, new Neapolitan pizzas, with a wood oven, which there are few in Almería; in addition to hamburgers, dogs, pepitos. A broad letter.
Why did you start in the hospitality industry?
I finished studying Image and Sound, I worked on it for a while and I went to London to learn English and there I started with hospitality, in a well-known Mexican in London and that is where I discovered the concern for the hospitality industry.
A tough guild?
To be in the hospitality industry you have to like it, it is not for someone who does not like it. Everything you feel and do is reflected in the dish that the customer eats, that passion and hours is what sets it apart from the rest.
What is your concept of establishment?
The first one that we opened the society that my partner, Nuria Marco Naval, a woman from Zaragoza that I found in Almería and I, was this Mexican-American, Tex-Mex concept, which in Almería is not widely exploited. We have sought that, within a traditional kitchen, it is a modern dish, with a high quality product to differentiate ourselves from others. You will not eat our dishes elsewhere because they are our hallmarks of the Canalla brand.
Did you participate in an edition of MasterChef?
In 2019 I participated in the MasterChef program. We were selected fifteen out of 25,000 applicants. We met many chefs in Barcelona, who are now friends of ours, and with them we have shared many recipes that in the end you are sharing within the guild. We have made them a bit our own and adapted to what we believe that Almería needs and wants. We wanted to make a modern meal so that people know what they like to eat when they go out, but then they don’t have in their city.
For Raúl, MasterChef marked a before and after in the hospitality industry?
Yeah sure. It was a wonderful experience. I was very clear about what I wanted and how I wanted it and that is reflected in everything we do. I keep in touch with some of my colleagues, especially Aleix Puig, who was the winner of MasterChef and who now has his restaurant in Barcelona, with home delivery.
Which establishments are you the manager of in Almería?
We have a brand called ‘Canalla’ and within that brand we have ‘Canalla Tacos y Tragos’, which is the one we started with four years ago. We started in Aguadulce and now we have it in Almería capital, the old and mythical place of La Reja. We have the other one on the beach in Mojácar. It is more seasonal. And now we open the ‘Canalla Grill’, on Martínez Almagro street, with this new cuisine and focused on variety but with dishes from all over the world.
Open an establishment in full crisis with the pandemic?
We believe that, with all the sanitary measures, people need to go out a little and forget the virus concept for a while. And this meal is very fun, putting something on the table that makes you travel and enjoy the moment without leaving Almería. We have adapted to the situation we live in and if you cannot eat the dish here, we will take it home. Home delivery has taken a very big push.
Why open on December 21?
Our idea was to anticipate a bit of the January slope and what is happening now. We knew that Christmas could be a showcase for us. It is the time when people are more on the street and have gone out a little more and also they have left us more hours so that restaurants can work more. It was our letter of introduction to face a month of January that was already expected to be complicated.
Do you have to reinvent yourself at all times?
Thus, at least we have to find what works at all times and currently we find that we cannot open all the hours that we would like. If you can’t come, we go.
With this kitchen can you play a little more with the memory of the palate?
Right. In the end it is a very pleasant memory, at that moment it evades you from so many things that you only think about that memory, that people forget everything and enjoy our Neapolitan pizza or Galician meat, very good and also, making the product cheaper , thinking of the young audience as well.
What does your work team mean for Raúl?
For Canalla, it’s not just us. It is a great team of professionals that completely completes this project. Without them it would not be possible, obviously. They are the ones who are day by day at the foot of the canyon and are the brand’s reference. They are, in large part, the engine. We have a great and professional squad behind us.