I have to imagine that growing up with my father, Jose Andrés, wasn’t always easy on some level. From his home to restaurants to meetings to filming locations to disaster sites, the Spanish native is always on the move and navigates his life with shark-like confidence. His children were undoubtedly a father figure to many around the world at this point, to get the attention of a man who would show up with a plate of food wherever people were in need. had to compete with
One of the benefits of quarantine was the chance to watch Andrés at home spending quality time with his three daughters in a series of cooking videos the chef posted on his social channels. Uncontrollable joy isn’t an emotion you’ll encounter often in life, let alone during a pandemic, but you can see Andrés dancing and cooking in the kitchen with Carlota and Inés and singing off-key to Bastille’s “Pompeii.” I think it’s very similar to His daughters look amused and embarrassed at the same time.
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While the video was nominally devoted to home cooking, it was hope and optimism that Andres and his children were selling early in the pandemic. had.
The interaction between the Spanish chef and his American-born daughters is so compelling, in fact, that some enterprising producers thought the limited television series would be a huge success for the family. More than two years later, “Jose Andres and the Spanish Family” is now a six-part series produced by London-based Neutopia in collaboration with Jose Andres Media. and will debut on Discovery Plus on December 27th.
The premise of the series is simple. Andrés serves as a tour guide for his daughters (Carlota, 23, Inez, 21, and Lucia, 18) who are wandering in the Elder’s home country. This series relies on several established models. It features a charming, semi-trusted chef/host perfected by Anthony Bourdain. It borrows the sweeping, pictorial cinematography of “Chef’s Table” and maintains the single-country focus of “Stanley Tucci: In Search of Italy.”
But the series also has its own charisma. If your father happens to be a famous chef and one of the biggest (non-cured) hams in the world, it’s a day to bring a lingering daughter to work. There are only a handful of them, and I believe three of them happen to be on this show.
When their father takes Carlota and Inés (Lucia appears in a later episode after the school year ends) to Barcelona’s historic La Boqueria Market, the chef spouts a vast expanse of sparkling seafood on ice . “This is like Finding Nemo,” exclaims Andres with Homer-esque enthusiasm. “It’s like being in a home aquarium, but you can eat it!”
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Ines smiles with gratitude and gives her father some advice. “Her only one lesson in life is her,” she says. “Don’t talk about ‘Finding Nemo’ and then talk about eating fish.”
“I thought it was great!” Andres’ counter.
A father and daughter cover a lot of grass in a short amount of time. They ride scooters and eat around Barcelona. Inés and Carlota learn flamenco dance at the annual fair in Jerez de la Frontera. The family samples almost every pastry at El Riojano, the legendary Madrid bakery. The sisters enter a paella contest during the Fallas Festival in Valencia. Andrés and his friends prepare a feast of traditional dishes from his father’s native Asturias. The young women learn that their father’s time at the famed molecular gastronomy hall of fame, El He Buj, has ended ill-fated.
During the trip, the brothers are exposed to family history and the foods that shaped their father’s well-developed palate. We see Spain through their eyes. We learn as they learn. We watch them go through. Their wonder becomes our wonder. I’m not sure anyone would be able to watch all six episodes of He without immediately booking a flight to Spain, but that’s probably half the reason the series exists. Andrés is and always will be the country’s top salesman.
But Andres also seems to be a protective father, which may explain why we learn so little about his daughter over the course of the series. Inés is adventurous and she’s willing to lend her hand for any culinary task. It turns out that Carlota loves surfing. But we learn very little about the women outside the boundaries of this Spanish adventure. We’ve known for years that their father dreams big.What about Carlota, Inez, and Lucia? What are their ambitions outside their father’s long shadow?
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Here and there, the daughters mention their mother, Patricia Fernandez de la Cruz, but she doesn’t make an appearance. You can see the love and pride her father has for her daughters. But as the brothers admit in Ron Howard’s documentary We Feed People, there are only hints about a woman’s relationship with her mother, the glue that holds this family together.
It must be remembered that documentaries and reality shows are as much a medium of truth-telling as they are of myth-making.
Watching Andre kiss, hug, and pet his daughters is as heartwarming as it is heartwarming, but the interactions are literally made for TV. They are representations designed for public consumption, in full view of the camera and crew. It’s not uncommon in reality television, but it doesn’t suggest that the warmth is scripted or conceived. We hope that fathers and daughters spend moments together that are as sweet and playful as the real thing.
José Andrés of Spain and family (6 episodes) will air on Discovery Plus on Tuesdays.