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Nandu Jubany. All-terrain

Nandu Jubany. All-terrain

Nandu Jubany © ffmag

Nandu Jubany is one of the big stars of Catalan cooking – and now of the Formentera food scene too. He has three restaurants on the island: Còdol Foradat, Can Carlitos and Aigua. Each is totally different from the next, which is all part of Jubany’s plan to bring culinary diversity to the island. And he’s not stopping there… Next year Jubany plans to open Pecador, a restaurant with a show that is all set to spice up Formentera’s nights.


How are things for you right now, personally and professionally?
I’m full of energy. I’m having the best time of my life. Obviously, with all the experience you acquire over the years, and having worked your whole life, things come to you more easily than when you start out and the mistakes you make are smaller. What’s on offer right now, professionally, is incredible. And what’s disappointing is that people don’t want to work in this sector. Professional people, who like to run businesses, to learn... I think that, before long, lots of companies that work in this area, and the ones that like to do new things, will have to stop opening restaurants because there won’t be people to run them.

What does Formentera have, in terms of food, that great chefs love so much?
Not much, in term of food. From the sea, the lobsters are amazing, and the pearly razorfish, when it’s available...but there isn’t a packed pantry of products from the sea or land. There’s very little produce, but what I do really like is the attitude customers have when they sit at the table. Their mindset, as they wait for you to give them a good time. And I think we’ve hit on a great formula and recipe that means our restaurants are really successful in Formentera.

Can Carlitos gastronomy, Formentera

How would you describe your three restaurants in Formentera in just a few words?
They are all very different from each other. El Còdol Foradat is authentic, generous and enjoyable. Can Carlitos is surprises, sunsets, magic, tapas, fun... And at Aigua, we’re still searching for the right path, we haven’t finished looking yet, with the team, the food and the location. We haven’t quite found the magic formula for that space.

Which dishes would you recommend we try at each?
At Es Còdol, the star product is barbecued fish. We’ve got the best fried lobster you’ll ever eat, dishes of the day that change depending on the products we can find in Formentera or have sent from Catalonia, although obviously we order from all over Spain. At Can Carlitos, you have to try the Can Carlitos mussels, the rice dishes, which are fantastic, the spicy chicken and various tapas dishes that are very successful and work really well. And of course: in a magical atmosphere, on such an amazing island, everything tastes even better. And at Aigua, there’s a bit of everything. Perhaps that’s the reason we haven’t found the perfect formula there yet. It’s a great place for enjoying everything from an aperitif or vermouth to a meal with rice dishes, tartar, brioche... Or a delicious hamburger at night.

In your opinion, what are the most important qualities a good chef should have? And a waiter?
First of all, generosity. And, most importantly of all, they have to love the job because it’s about pleasing the customer and making them enjoy themselves. Making them feel unique and at home. I’m talking about both in the kitchen and in the dining room. You need to be clear that the customer is what matters most in a restaurant. And when you give it your all and add a little bit of your heart, as the special ingredient, people discover something more than just a great meal or a lovely place to visit. That’s the magic.

Es Còdol Foradat terrace. Formentera

Now you know the island: what do think is the secret to making a restaurant a success in Formentera?
Customers should get what they expect. There are lots of restaurants where you expect one thing and get another. In all my restaurants, I try to meet customers’ expectations and, most importantly, make them want to return because we’ve treated them exceptionally well and the meal is good value for money.

How do you apply sustainability at your restaurants, in Formentera and off the island?
People always talk about sustainability in the sense of regrowing, using zero-mile produce... But in this particular case, there is very little local produce. Sustainability also means doing things well, training people, making restaurants that keep on going over time – and are sustainable over time. Sustainability also means having stable teams, making people not want to leave the job and, in Formentera, giving people another reason to come to the island. We have to do things well from the moment we come to the restaurant until the moment we leave. Obviously, we also do everything we can to use local produce, reduce plastic...

Which products from Formentera have surprised you the most?
The figs have impressed me more than anything else, they’re incredible when they’re in season. Also, the lobster, the John Dory, which is different to what you get in the north (you can tell the difference because it’s got much bigger spines).

What future plans do you have in Formentera?
We should have opened Pecador in Formentera this year. It’s a project we have for a restaurant I bought two years ago, what used to be Can Dani, and we’re really excited about opening a brasserie with its own kitchen garden where all the vegetables are cooked over the barbecue. At first, it will only open in the evenings and will be a complete experience with music, a show... So, if we can, and the island authorities let us, we’ll open it next year. We also want to consolidate our three restaurants and our teams, make our restaurants places that you simply have to visit, and be able to spend more time on the island because I love it here, I’m in love with the island.

Sunset from Can Carlitos. Formentera

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