Spain - Jorge González Carmona
Bailliage of Madrid
Maître Rôtisseur
Executive Chef, Hotel Ritz Madrid
" What is your motivating secret? My leitmotiv is do your best every day, and do it better every day "

“The Ritz is everything”

Iconic, that’s Madrid’s Ritz inaugurated by Alfonso XIII in 1910. Providing luxury in the centre of Spain’s capital was why it was built; visited by innumerable personalities; its exceptional cuisine in the hands of Executive Chef Jorge González Carmona, Maître Rôtisseur.

What ignited your passion for the kitchen?
I don’t know answer ... in fact for many years I wanted to study at San Sebastian’s Business School. Whilst waiting for my exam results I told my parents I wanted to be a chef which surprised them greatly as it was out of the blue.

I knew practically nothing about the kitchen. Luckily they decided to provide support and sent me to study in France.

How did you start?
During three years at the Hotel School of Toulouse I was fortunate to have had two training opportunities: firstly at the Restaurant Vannel, a Michelin 2-star establishment in Toulouse, followed by the Hôtel Palais in Biarritz.

What were your first professional steps?
I started my professional career at a famous Michelin 2-star establishment, the Relais de la Poste at Magescq in the Landes.

After 18 months I made the leap, which was key for me personally and professionally, to the Hôtel Crillon in Paris and learnt how to work in as well as lead and manage a kitchen.

Back in Spain?
At 30, with the Paris experience under my belt, I decided to come to Madrid. La Clique in Cava Baja, although small helped enormously with my transition from France to Spain.

My dishes became well-known. As a result I was hired as a gastronomic consultant by Jésus Santos who owned several restaurants, although I focused on being chef at the Restaurante Goizeko-Wellington.

How come the Ritz?
After three years at Goizeko-Wellington I was headhunted with a very attractive offer from a luxury hotel in Madrid. Eventually I discovered it was The Ritz. I said yes and that was 10 years ago.

From restaurant to the Ritz – what’s the difference?
Tremendous! Compare a yacht with a liner! In a restaurant energies focus on customer service. The requirements of a hotel, especially one that is over 100 years old, are more complex on many levels.

What is your motivating secret?
My leitmotiv is “do your best every day, and do it better every day”.

What keeps your customers returning to The Ritz?
Tradition certainly with an essential touch of innovation and creativity in keeping with The Hotel Ritz’s iconic style to keep interest fresh. Everyone knows The Ritz.

Ten years as The Ritz’s Executive Head Chef – how have you developed and innovated?
Arriving at The Ritz integrating experienced with younger staff to create a team able to deliver my vision was the challenge, a difficult one. Energy, practical knowledge, great enthusiasm, clear focus helped keep me on track.

Starting afresh each day, remembering high standards, always looking to do that little bit better are my top tips.

Perfection doesn’t exist however striving to reach it results in delivering 100% customer satisfaction. Aiming for perfection keeps me excited and energised to try new things.

The Ritz’s traditions run through the year especially with our landmark Goya Restaurant which represents a third of our workload as well as culinary themes around a product, event or festival.

We enjoy making occasions truly memorable with the backdrop of décor, decoration, music bringing something magical especially at Christmas. We set expectations high and our clientele return again and again.

Based on an interview by Carlos Garcia Costaya