Spain - Emérito Estuy
Isla (Cantabria), October 2, 2020
A Maître Hôtelier shares his thoughts
" We are proud of our lobster which we send throughout Spain "

Maître Hôtelier Emérito Astuy is the third generation running the Hotel Restaurant Astuy. One of Cantabria’s most emblematic establishments it’s on the Isla peninsula located between the Castellano and Quejo estuaries and the Cantabrian Sea with magnificent beaches, hidden coves, impressive cliffs.

A benchmark for gastronomy and restoration in Cantabria, Astuy’s banner is a lobster. Lobster fishing in Isla dates back centuries and continues as a sought-after gastronomic speciality iof northern Spain.

Beneath the hotel is a ‘nursery’ where the famous lobsters are reared - guided tours are available. We are proud of our lobster which we send throughout Spain, in polystyrene boxes to preserve its quality, ready to be prepared or served directly to the table.

Emérito was interviewed:

1. What is more difficult, cooking or leading a team of people?
Cooking! He smiles when saying my fried eggs are delicious. I leave the professionals to cook. Leading a team is what I've been doing all my life, so that's easier for me. My grandparents built the first Astuy inn which my grandmother ran whilst my grandfather was a fisherman. I studied Business and Economics. My skill is setting the direction, making everything work as part of a more complex whole.

2. What has been your gastronomic training?
Gastronomic training no, but I was born, raised and live in a restaurant. If what runs through your veins counts as training, then the answer is yes. I learn new things every day. Our family has dedicated body and soul to gastronomy. My ancestors were fishermen. My grandfather built Fonda Astuy and merged the concept of staying at the inn with dining there. My great-grandfather built the natural lobster nursery under the restaurant.

3. Which ingredients would you choose were you to have to make a dish?
Products from my land without hesitation, lobster or island peppers, perhaps some spices. The quality of Cantabrian products means that we can afford that luxury. The more natural the dishes, the better they are. Less is more in our land.

4. What virtues do you think are the most important to be a good chef?
In hospitality in general it’s the capacity for sacrifice and perseverance. For a chef in particular, it’s creativity and humility too. We are human and things do not turn out the same for us every day. You have to know how to improve yourself to continue growing.

5. Who are your gastronomic references?
My grandmother and my mother. Two wonderful people. As I was saying, I don't cook anything and in fact I find it very difficult. I have seen them turn very basic products of our kitchen into authentic delicacies.

6. What style of food do you like to order when you go out to eat?
I like everything, really appreciating the cook’s creativity. You learn a lot. When I travel, I let myself be advised by the restaurant staff. Our customers ask us for our opinion. This is how the gastronomy of each place is known, the specialities and local products from the experts. For instance, our star dish lobster distinguishes us from other restaurants.

Text extracted from a detailed feature prepared by Bailli Délégué Rosa Román