For the past few years, Guzmán Gastronomía has been distributing products belonging to the Bidfood brand, owned by Bidcorp. The Catalan business, now one of the most important food service companies in Spain, started as a small stand in Barcelona’s La Boquería market. Today we’re talking to Víctor Sánchez, manager of the Ibiza branch of what is now Bidfood Guzmán. He describes the keys to the brand’s success since its early days and the challenges that, in his opinion, the gastronomy sector currently faces in Ibiza.
What is your role at Guzmán Gastronomía?
I’m the manager of the Guzmán branch in Ibiza. I’m also part of the R&D team. It’s a company that will always revolve around chefs. That’s why, four years ago, the Guzmán R&D committee was founded, comprised exclusively of chefs seeking innovation, trends… in order to offer the best client advisory service possible. In Ibiza I’m part sales, part chef… As I’m the manager, I’m responsible for allocating all the work.
You evolved from being a chef to manager of Bidfood Guzmán. Do you miss cooking?
I spent many years as a chef; I worked in a Michelin-starred restaurant and then started working at Bidfood as a sales representative until I was promoted to cover the whole of Spain—and here I am now. I don’t miss it because I’ve never taken my apron off. I’m in close contact with the kitchen and, if I have a craving to do some cooking, I meet a client to give them some advice or show them something new that will help their work. I really enjoy sharing my knowledge with our customers and that fills any gap left by cooking.
How was Guzmán Gastronomía created and how did it become Bidfood Guzmán?
Guzmán Gastronomía started out as a small stand in La Boquería. Leopoldo Guzmán was the founder of the company. He was deeply committed to the food world and paid particular attention when chefs came to order something that was a bit out of the ordinary. Not only would he find the product that the chef was looking for, he’d find exactly what he or she wanted. That was what made the company grow very fast in a very short period of time. It didn’t take long to expand and then it left La Boquería for Mercabarna.
What changed at Mercabarna?
That’s when it started to focus on food service, on making deliveries… There were lots of chefs who couldn’t get to the market every day. He managed to base customer relationships on trust. That obviously made the company expand significantly across Spain. Today, Bidfood Guzmán belongs to a multinational company, we’ve seen notable expansion in Spain and we’re working to continue along the path that Guzmán Gastronomía started, offering a far wider food service.
What type of products do you offer your customers?
We work with locally produced food, local fruit and vegetables, but we also have a large imports line. For example, we bring over a lot of fruit from Asia: products that cannot be grown here. And then we have a wide range of convenience products. They’re our innovative products, from other areas. We sell them dry, frozen… And they’re in big demand because they’re on trend.
Which customers do you work with in Ibiza?
With all the food-related ones, and anyone who’d like to meet us. We don’t have a benchmark or type of customer that we won’t serve.
What do you think about the current situation of catering in Ibiza?
It’s seeing huge growth and, above all, I think it’s becoming far more professional. I’ve spent four seasons on the island and I’ve noticed a great evolution in terms of work done well and with care and, particularly, a greater demand for good products. A while ago a chef said to me, “in Ibiza you can eat badly and expensively, or very badly and very expensively.” Fortunately, that has changed: there are lots of restaurants in Ibiza where you can eat well at reasonable prices. There are lots of well-trained people who want to do a good job. In terms of knowledge and product handling, when I arrived I had to run lots of training sessions and now I’m surprised to find people who know exactly what they want. And in regard to food technology, I think that in general the process is far more precise.
What is the main challenge for the gastronomy sector in Ibiza?
The main challenge on the island is staffing, and it always will be. Because of the island’s seasonal nature; the extremely high work peak in the summer. Also, I think that the island is a kind of theme park for adults. Culinary offer has to be part of it too, but of course, Ibiza has so many attractions it isn’t easy.
The catering sector in Ibiza is becoming far more professional
How has Ibiza treated you?
The island has been very kind to me. I’m really happy to be here because, until last year when I moved here definitively, I’d known a much colder Ibiza. Until then I’d only come during the summer: everything was about rushing and large-scale consumption. I hadn’t been able to take in the island. Spending the winter here, noticing the peace, how people use the winter to keep training… Seeing the lifestyle of people here has helped me relax and see things with greater perspective. People who live in Ibiza all year round are in real harmony with nature and care for the island. This sense of balance really caught my attention and I love it.