Jeroni Castell is the chef of Les Moles, a restaurant situated in Ulldecona –a village of around 5,000 inhabitants, close to the Mediterranean coast and 160 km North of Valencia. He received a Michelin star in 2001, an achievement that he could never have imagined 8 years earlier, when he opened the restaurant without even knowing how to make a sauce.
Compulsiveness as a starting point
The idea of opening a restaurant was his brother’s, an entrepreneurial initiative with no experience whatsoever to back it, not in business or gastronomy, on the part of either of the two brothers. Although it’s true that they’d visited various restaurants as children as their father was a gourmet fan.
In 1994, his brother abandoned the project and Jeroni Castells was forced to take on the role of chef when his chef had to quit for health reasons. Not having a clue about cooking, he went to classes every Monday given by Mrs Maria Cinta Bayarri, who gave home cooking lessons for women. Castells copied the recipes his teacher taught him and slowly but surely grew in popularity.
Contact with a Michelin star restaurant
In 1999, after having learnt the basics of cooking, Jeroni Castells was able to work with Joan Baptista Bosch, owner of the restaurant Can Bosch, the only Michelin star restaurant between Valencia and Barcelona. His experience in Can Bosch changed him and his cooking. A few years later he would form the team that would bring him to where he is today.
Destiny is fickle and Jeroni Castell could easily have taken a different path, but he has got to where he is because, on the one hand, he didn’t know it was possible and on the other, through effort and persistence.