“Every day I wake up wanting to do more,” he says, from the other end of the phone line, Ximena torres. And, while the chef tells El País all the activities she has scheduled for the rest of the year, one has only to believe her. In addition to his role as a judge in the second season of Masterchef Celebrity —that goes on Tuesdays on Channel 10— and its gastronomic segment in UnderlinedTorres has several projects in mind.
In less than two weeks it will open a new branch of The candy store in Carrasco and at the end of November he will travel to Paris to participate in the new edition of the Premio Gourmand, dedicated to cookbooks and wine from around the world. This year, Torres received two nominations for Homemade is better (Aguaclara): female chef and best cookbook for the family. “I hope to bring me a prize,” she says with the same joy as when she tastes a dish that surprises her at Masterchef.
However, he clarifies: “I live thinking that I did not get anywhere, but that it is the path that counts.” And, about his journey in the media and the growth of culinary formats on television, Torres spoke with El País.
—Since Masterchef arrived on Uruguayan television, cooking shows have grown a lot on local television. Even the three private channels have a cooking reality show in prime time. How do you analyze the land gained?
—I am very proud because today the most common thing is to turn on the TV and have a kitchen. However, I still remember that when I started in the media 10 years ago, I asked a manager that I wanted to have a cooking show in the evening, and he rolled his eyes as if to say, “Are you kidding me?” Now, without going any further, Subrayado has come looking for me to do a column on Thursdays. And it also fascinates me that there are so many cooking reality shows in Uruguay; I participate in one but consume the rest. I feel that people are interested in cooking and that they want to learn because it is something that makes them happy. In addition, that will give you more tools to cook or even to be critical of the chef; all this elevates the gastronomic culture of the country. 10 years ago, nobody gave you back a burnt coffee, today they send it back to you.
—The kitchen also occupies important places in the radios and in the editorial news. What would you attribute this growing interest to?
—It’s something that is happening all over the world: cooking at home has become fashionable again. I feel that it is due to the visualization around the food and that we no longer feel flavors. People got bored of buying a chocolate that is actually a simile of chocolate. It got so bad that we had to go back to basics, and that means making a plate with five ingredients. At this time we went back to home because we realized that we can eat better and live healthier. It is a change that the world is going through and in Uruguay it allows us to discover that there is something more than just eating potatoes and meat.
“That’s what’s valuable about Masterchef.” Beyond entertainment, there is learning about culinary variety and losing the fear of cooking new dishes. Do you agree?
—Yes, and I believe that the Uruguayan palate has tremendous potential for development; moreover, I feel that we have not reached half of what we could reach in terms of delicacy and the choice of products. But we are all agents of change and both Sergio (Puglia), Laurent (Lainé) and I are passionate about what we do, and I feel that this is the legacy we can leave the viewer.
—More than a month after the premiere of Masterchef Celebrity 2, how do you rate the level of the participants?
—The truth is that it has been surprising us all because of the histrionic capacity and talent in each of the areas where the boys participate. In addition, gastronomically speaking, it has been the best year. They are competitive participants and super partners. You can tell that everyone wants to win and that they want to learn because every week they try to come up with something new to dazzle us.
—At the end of July you started a column on gastronomic culture in Subrayado. How did it come about?
—I received the invitation from the channel and I embraced the proposal because it seemed like a good bet. Gastronomy is also culture and it deserves a place in the news. I appreciate it and applaud it because everything that has to do with culture makes us transcend as human beings.
—The first column was live, but the rest were recorded. It was said that it was due to a rispity with Blanca Rodríguez. It’s true?
“No, they are all rumors.” The reality is that the columns were recorded because on Thursdays we filmed Masterchef; It is not more than that. But hey, I let it go because both Blanca and I are two discreet people in our careers and we have arrived at our places working and not being part of the chimento. What’s more, on my first day at Subrayado I gave him some macarons and he told me they liked them a lot. Either way, rest assured that tonight I’m going out live (laughs).