Feb 22 2024

Chef Begoña Rodrigo Uses Local Vegetables to Prepare Cold Cuts

The chef, named Best Vegetable Chef in Europe, uses lots of tuber and root vegetables to prepare her unique dishes and vegetable cold cuts and charcuterie

Begoña Rodrigo, the chef behind the Michelin-star restaurant La Salita, in Valencia. is no stranger to accolades. In fact, she was named Best Vegetable Chef in Europe and is considered to be the second-best vegetable chef in all the world. This acknowledgment was given to her by We’re Smart Green Guide, which has recently premiered Lady Vegetable Chef category, that pays tribute to the 10 best  Vegetable Chefs in the World.

This Chef has made a name for herself preparing singular dishes, and she relies heavily on Spain’s very extensive selection of high-quality vegetables, which are popular both at home and abroad.

Begoña has developed her own selection of vegetable cold cuts and charcuterie, such as pumpkin sobrasada. She cooks the pumpkin with salt and then dries it before adding pine nuts, shallots, and spices. For her marinated turnip cane, she ferments Daikon radishes for 12 hours, and her smoked radish watermelon pastrami is prepared by cooking the vegetables in butter and then smoking them and mixing them with spices and mustard. Meanwhile, her mushroom and chestnut pâté is mixed with tofu to achieve just the right texture.

She uses some vegetables and fruits that Spain exports worldwide. For example, in the case of watermelon, Spain is the World leader with figures of 680.25 million kilos, 19.65 percent of the total, as United Nations’ agenda COMTRADE stats. In the case of pumpkin, Spain is the first exporter to third countries among the European Union members, according to Eurostat.

As the chef’s restaurant is located in Valencia, she has access to lots of root and tuber vegetables in particular, and she prides herself on using lesser-known vegetables and experimenting with different vinegars.

Besides this vegetable charcuterie, her star dishes include halophytes, seaweed and season’s vegetables; tomato water, fennel and flowers; eggplant falafel; fermented kohlrabi sandwich; cold soup of pickled tiger nuts and radish shots; cabbage rice, sun dried pepper and beet; pine nuts, asparagus and vegetable roe; and kimchi carbonara with parsnip noodles.