THE CHEF OF FLOWERS
I feel like a daughter of my landscape, I was born in Palafrugell in 1976 and in 1980 my parents moved to Palau-Sator, one of the most beautiful villages of the Empordanet. My father was a farmer and shepherd, he kept goats and sheep, sold milk, made cheese, raised lambs, chickens, rabbits.... My mother, of Andalusian origin, decided to open a restaurant to be able to sell everything they produced themselves, it was a self-sustainable kitchen, where they highlighted Catalan recipes that the masoveras of the village had taught my mother.
I have learned the trade of cooking with my mother Genoveva, I have inherited the knowledge of the use of plants, her Andalusian salt shaker for seasoning, the importance of a good pantry, respect for traditional recipes in natural cooking, and above all the values of life that as good cooks we must put in each recipe to thrill with our food.
Many people know me as "the chef of flowers", the biodynamic chef or the naturalist cook... these are labels that define much more than a cuisine, these are the representation of a lifestyle that does not follow fashions, based on the rhythm of nature and connected with the fauna and the floral world that surrounds us. My mission as a cook is to make people love nature through its flavor, I want to raise awareness about the use of plants, the importance of respecting them and share a new way of seeing the landscape.
Interview with Ioldanda
I started my restaurant La Caléndula in Girona in 2009 together with my husband, Jacint Codina. Both of us have taken the restaurant forward and it has evolved thanks to the trust of friends and customers. In 2015 we brought Calendula close to home, in Regencós. Finally, after a long time I have decided to leave the restaurant's kitchen to start a great diversity of projects always related to the countryside, flowers and gastronomy.
Apart from cooking, I combine my hobby as a harvester with teaching, lecturing at schools and gastronomic congresses and collaborating with radio, press and television. At the same time I try to write down the memory of the use of plants in the kitchen. I have written "The best cooking with plants, flowers and wild fruits", "Fresh and natural cooking" and "Cooking with flowers".
Throughout my career I have obtained several distinctions, such as the UMAMI award for gastronomic innovation with traditional ingredients; the Miga de Oro award for professional career; I have been named as one of the "12 stories of crack women of Catalonia" by the UAB. I was a finalist for Cook of the Year 2016. Kitchen Ambassador in 2017 by the Federation of Hotel and Catering Industry of Spain, FACYRE. Until 2022 vice-president of the Association of Women in Gastronomy (MEG), 2015-2021 member of La Cocina del Empordanet and the collective Cocineras y cocineros de Cataluña for the defense and valuation of local producers and products.
So, this is my life to this day, surrounded by nature, good food and wonderful people.