Spain - Marisa Duque
Segovia, December 4, 2020
Well known in Spain's gastronomy world
" Gastronomy is in the genes of Maître Rôtisseur Marisa Duque "

Gastronomy is in the genes of Maître Rôtisseur Marisa Duque. She is the fourth generation at the helm of Casa Duque having taken over its management in 1997. This emblematic restaurant in Segovia celebrates its 125th anniversary this year.

Casa Duque is a fine example of a family business always innovating its gastronomic selection. Suckling pig is the house’s eternal star. Marisa talks about her staff as family. For instance, Chef Carlos Martín has been working at the restaurant for 35 years.

Well-known in the world of Spanish gastronomy, Marisa is the perfect optimistic, vital host, participating in tourism events disseminating Castilian gastronomy in Segovia. On gastronomic days she carries her suckling pig as a banner. Of course she is a master at cutting it at the table!

Marisa says that above all she feels incredibly lucky to be in a country where the culture of gastronomy is the excellence of excellence. In her view, no country in the world resembles Spain in quality and prestige.

She is waiting to welcome you to Casa Duque!


INTERVIEW

1. What is more difficult, cooking or leading a team of people?
It’s a vocation in which many people are related. Leading a team is totally professional where the spirit of work, training, customer service is very important so it’s not difficult at all. We are working towards a common goal fulfilling objectives wonderfully.

Cooking is not easy. Cooking is an art. The wisdom of a difficult job captured daily as many factors intervene, especially the hand of the cook: an artist, elite professional who makes something simple into a wonderful taste. Twenty-one-day--old suckling pig, a wood-fired oven, water and salt makes the star product of Casa Duque and the entire city of Segovia.

Cooking has nothing to do with leading a group of people.

2. What has been your gastronomic training?
First: law degree followed by Master in Business Administration together with visiting chefs, restaurants and emblematic hotels for specific training in them. I was honoured to work with Luis Irizar.

Ed. Luis Irizar Zamora (born 1930 in La Havana, Cuba) is one of the founding members of the New Basque Cuisine. In the 1970s he opened the first catering school in the Basque Country which, over the years, has produced some of the most renowned chefs of the movement.

3. If you had to make a dish with four ingredients, which ones would you choose?
To make a simple dish as everything we eat, and taste remains imprinted in the heart. For something very important: roast suckling pig, beans. For sweet I would make Segovian punch. A favourite dish remembered from childhood featured potatoes. The recipe for this simple, humble dish is in my father’s cookbook.

4. What virtues do you think are the most important to be a good chef?
A vocation is what distinguishes a cook, waiter, doctor, mechanic, etc. Vocation defines us human beings. The desire to improve, continue learning, sacrifice, challenge of each day to be a little better.

Chefs who have distinguished themselves have something in common: dedication to the profession that gives them so much satisfaction. Integrity, basic cooking skills, desire to improve without limits. Think: the kitchen where you work is in your home, the clients to whom you are dedicated are your personal guests who present a new challenge every day.

5. Who are your gastronomic references?
Very clear to me that it’s fundamentally my father, Dionisio Duque, who in the Fifties gave Segovia the gastronomic pull of the suckling pig by making it a keystone of the hospitality industry in the city. Not only a gastronomic reference, but he was a business reference which is very important to me. When we travelled world-wide, he made me classify gastronomy as if it was haute couture.

Other references include Luis Irizar, Chef Hilario Arbelaitz at Zuberoa, Pedro Larumbe, and many other chefs and business people.


Ed. Based on a full-length article submitted by Bailli Délégué Rosa Román