Every decision Maria makes is directed by her heart. After working in several renowned Spanish restaurants as a chef, she has finally discovered the right connection within her way of cooking. Outside of the kitchen, Maria dreams of traveling the world to experience new cultures. Always ready to accept whatever life throws her way, she believes that learning and seeing one’s different perspective is the key to becoming a truly open-minded person.
“I was born in a town near Ferrol – in As Pontes. My childhood was very beautiful: together with my six brothers we spent a lot of time playing in the street. I finished university and graduated in Industrial Relations at the age of 22”.
However, at that moment in her life, Maria felt a bit lost. When she finished her studies she did not want to work in an office. One day the young graduate went to work at a camp and accidentally discovered that she enjoyed spending time in the kitchen. That was the turning point in her career. Maria began studying cooking and pastry. Her initial interest turned into jobs in some of the best and most prestigious restaurants in all of Spain.
“I worked in Michelin-starred restaurants in Zaragoza, Asturias, Coruña, Carballo. At that time, it was very important for me to perform at my best, to become known in the world of cooking. They were three very hard years but also very beautiful ”.
Later, María began to have some health-related problems and returned to her village. It was also the place where she opened her first own business. During four difficult years, the business was developing, but also her illness was not far behind. In the end, Maria broke down and had to shut everything down.
“It took me a long time to recover from the existential, personal and professional crisis. I was feeling really depressed. After a year and a half, I started looking for work again. Initially, I didn’t want to work in the hospitality industry, I wanted to quit. But since I have a lot of cooking experience and my CV is good, I could easily get a job in a restaurant. At first I worked 60 hours a week in La Coruña but I felt exhausted. Later, I found this offer in Ferrol and met the owner, Alicia. What I like is that they are not demanding formalities from me that I don’t feel like – about the clothes, the way of working. I’ve been working here for 2 years now. Here I am working like playing. It is fun.
For me it was a big change in the way I cook. In the past, teachers always taught me to cook from an academic point of view. They taught me how things were supposed to be done precisely. It was a very masculine point of view. During my crisis, I took a very powerful course in macrobiotics – a way of eating based on yin-yang and nature. Thanks to that, I began to see the kitchen in a completely different way. I had forgotten myself the love and heart that our moms and grandmothers put in their kitchen. This is not something that is taught in school. This opened a new door for me to do things differently, it was a great discovery ”.
This summer may be the last for the restaurant “Tía Carmiña”. Maria doesn’t know what the future will bring, but she’s perfectly fine with the unknown.
“I always asked myself a lot of questions about life. Now, I accept more and more than life tells me. I have been doing sonotherapy for years, which is a way of working with sacred instruments. It gave me the feeling of just “taking a walk” through life and learning the humility and simplicity of things.
Since I find it difficult to work on something that I don’t “feel”, I have always wanted to find a vocation. Some hospitality people call me today because that’s my resume. However, that is no longer my path. I would like to have the weekends off, more time for myself, to do workshops and to be able to live a more balanced life with work ”.
Talking about migration
Although María has never traveled outside of Spain, her mind remains open and ready to discover new cultures.
“The members of my family were immigrants. My paternal grandfather went to Cuba and came back. My maternal grandfather and my mother went to France and came back. This experience changes your mindset. You see another world that is not yours, you learn to value things. If you see the same things all the time, you think this is the center of the world. And it is not like that “
“I think that in Spain there are 2 types of migration – the socially accepted and the non-socially accepted. If you have a more or less good academic position and you are a white person – I think you are well accepted and you can come to work here. If you have another color, you don’t have money – I think it is not easy to come to work here in Spain. They are two very different situations ”.
“The question:” Should all immigrants get a work permit? “Is very complex. It should be answered by politicians who supposedly have more information, more knowledge. Personally, I find it difficult to accept that a passport is above a human life. However, I also understand that there must be a way to regulate that to have a little more balance. You cannot say: “all come here!” But neither should anyone work here without papers as if you don’t exist. There must be a middle ground between the regularization of documents and human rights.
There are people who are against immigrants. I don’t usually enter into conversations with these people because I’m not going to convince them. These people have their way of thinking, they firmly believe in their ideas and do not see that there are other ways. I understand that it is complicated. People always have to be on top of things.
In sonotherapy we learn that life has a perfect order. The things that we do not understand yet have a meaning and a why. It is important to distinguish between what you can change and what you cannot. There is a general opinion that “people who come from abroad take the jobs of the Spanish.” But I do not share this opinion. Ferrol is a site of polarities. This is where Franco was born. It is a place of both the right and the left.
Spain is a country of the left. What happens is that right now the left is very blurred – divided into many parties. People begin to notice the problems of politics. The Vox party, which is far-right, is the third force in Spain at that time. It is growing a lot. The places with the most nationalism in Spain are Catalonia, the Basque Country and Galicia. In Spain each region has its peculiarities. The regions are very different, for example Andalusia has nothing to do with Galicia. It is neither better nor worse. Is different. We can still all live in a community. There are people who are nationalists but not independentists.
The most important thing in life
The most important thing in life is to live from the heart, through the heart and with humanity. Whatever happens to you, whatever – it’s important to get a little bit through your heart. I try a lot.