I have always admired couples who can work together. Raices is run by husband and wife team Maribel Fano Garcia and Gaston Leyendo Golstien.To share work and home life with your partner is an accomplishment and they feel proud of this. The name Raices means Roots. When Gaston’s father passed away, they decided to open a restaurant. It seemed only fitting to name the restaurant roots, to remember where you come from and whose shoulders you stand on.

Gaston worked in hospitality in Argentina and studied with renowned chef Germán Martitegi. However, he started his gastronomic career later than most in his 30s. First, he was working with electronics, selling machines with compressors. Cooking was always a background passion and he knew he needed to try it out. So, he worked in the day and studied at culinary school at night. He was very eager to learn. As part of his culinary training he came to Barcelona’s Costa Brava to make rice. (I know, I know, an Argentinian making rice?!? What happened to steak? Don’t worry he can do that too). Though his time here was short it was enough to convince him he needed to come back. When he later moved to Barcelona, he got a job at Rey Juan Carlos. Here the doors opened for him and he met more people. He ended up at AC Gava Mar where he managed the kitchen for 15 years. He got a lot of practice at catering for weddings, events and large parties.While the experience was invaluable and enjoyable, his wife told him, she didn't see him working for someone else for the rest of his life. He had a job offer at a hotel in Macau China, they were pondering their next move.

They decided to open a restaurant in their hometown of Castelldefels. It was a hard step to make. Gaston was leaving job security behind. Maribel was working in telecommunications at the time and had no previous hospitality experience but was up for the project. Now that she sees how consuming and difficult it has been, she feels so grateful that they both supported one another from the beginning. The reality was so much harder than she expected. Just for their single restaurant, they have 50 providers. There is the accounting, the stocking, the ordering, the social side, the marketing, the decorating, the cleaning and the staff.It is a job that involves so many different skill sets. Maribel ponders if hospitality is a male dominated field because the rhythm is so hard to maintain. The hours and lifestyle are taxing on family life and she says it wouldn’t be possible if they didn’t completely support and understand each other. After years of searching for a locale, in June 2018 they opened Raices in Castelldefels Beach.

They both want Raices to be a restaurant that stands out. They strive for surprising home cooking, international and innovative cuisine. The most challenging part has been not having too many clients. Their first summer was not an easy one, nobody knew them, and tourists expected menus for 12 euros. Maribel told me, “When other places are full and yours isn’t it makes you doubt yourself. Should we adjust our menu? Should we put some items that might sell more but take us away from our vision of what we wanted to do?”They still strive for that balance of keeping true to their vision while also filling their tables.

Gaston was preparing to take his son on a long overdue trip to Argentina to visit family. In preparation for his time away, he made sure there would be 2 chefs in the kitchen and enough food stocked for weeks so they wouldn’t have to place any orders while he was away. Maribel was going to stay and hold down the fort. But Gaston never went to Argentina. In March 2020 Spain went into lockdown because of Covid-19, and restaurants were closed for the foreseeable future. They spent the following days eating the whole restaurant. “There were so many potatoes! We made potato mash, we made tortilla de patata*. Every single day cooking potatoes!”, recalls Maribel. They watched their savings dwindle and there was no certainty as to when things would be normal again. As they both work in the same place they rely on the same source of income. While it was a stressful time. Maribel said the time was also a gift for the couple's one-year-old son. They were working so much before, COVID gave them a mandatory break. They had so much family time and their son was pleased to have both his parents around, he was very affectionate. Her mantra during hard times is what has gotten her through the restaurant opening endeavor “It won’t be easy but it’s worth it.”

My husband and I have done the tasting menu at Raices and we enjoyed every dish. Maribel works the floor while her husband runs the kitchen. She is so kind and attentive. The waiters are happy to help with suggestions. There is a great selection of items. The prices are fair for the quality of the food that is served. I am compelled to return with friends and try more menu items.

*tortilla de patata is a typical Spanish omelet made of potatoes and egg.


Final Four

1. What was your favorite childhood food?

Canelones. I love to intoxicate myself with homemade Canelones.

2. What is the strangest thing you ever ate?

Nothing is too strange……Now that I think about it perhaps frog legs or brains….

3. The dish I eat the night I don’t want to cook is…

Broth. A warm cup of Broth.

4. Describe a regular moment in your daily life that bringsyou joy.

Picking up my son from school every day. It’s pure joy. I am always so happy to see him.


Phone number: +34 933606127


Instagram: @Raices.Castelldefels

17 visualizaciones0 comentarios