Eating healthy is the new in!
Two life-long friends open the first gluten-free restaurant in beautiful Barcelona, Spain
...By Robin G. Coles
Sergio, my waiter, graciously excused himself and brought the chef out to discuss my options. They assured me everything is Gluten-free. “Everything is Gluten-free,” says Marta, chef of Chaitea Hausfood. She recommended the lentil burger on a bulky roll. The burger came on a flat board with grooves to collect the crumbs. The board also held four hot baked potato wedges, lettuce, tomato, vegetable and chutney. There was also a whip of avocado and one grape tomato sliced in half. To drink, they recommended a glass of Chilean La Rosa wine.
Chaitea Hausfood seats around 35 patrons. Every table has round straw mats, an aloe plant and cane chairs. Each plant has a popsicle stick in it holding a sign. Mine says “Sonrie” No Hay Excusas (Smile, there’s no excuses!). In the front, there’s a small lounge area to wait for your table or take-out. The dinner menus are pieces of white paper on clipboards with choice of either Spanish or English. Breakfast/Lunch menus are on brown cardboard.
The next day (Sunday) I was heading to Montjuic (Mountain of the Jews) and La Playa (Beach). Not sure what to expect for cafes in that area I stopped at Chaitea for take-out. Lunch was standing room only. While I waited for my order of vegetables with goat cheese, beets, tomatoes, sweet potato and radicchio, I heard a familiar accent from back home; New England. It was coming from a group of college students; 3 girls from New York, 2 of which are studying in Rome, the other one is studying in Segovia, Spain. The young man with them is a student at Penn State in PA. He was on Spring break. Another couple from Delaware was visiting their daughter who is studying a semester in Spain.
After a full day’s excursions, I ended back at Chai Tea for my final dinner in Barcelona. This was after I went to 10 different restaurants. Each one said they didn’t want to cook “sin-gluten” for me. Gabriel Monagas was my waiter. Once again, Marta came out to talk with me. She put together a chicken patty topped with carrots, eggplant and goat cheese. Salad and potato wedges on the side. Tonight’s beverage was a gluten-free Spanish beer called Durum Drum. The perfect choice to ending a long 12-day trip riding up and down the coast of Spain.
Once dinner was over I had the opportunity to talk in length with Sergio. Not only does he wait tables, he co-owns the restaurant. His partner is Gustavo Barrelo.
In Venezuela, Sergio Severino went to school to become a lawyer. Gustavo Barrelo studied to be a dentist. To work in Spain, they would have to start over again. So, they chose to live their dream and open a restaurant. “This place is like we are at home,” says Sergio. “It’s very important for us. We want people to feel good and eat in a place where they can speak with another person, eat good food; healthy food.”
Gustavo is extremely strict with the food, he’s on a diet all year. He’s never eaten McDonald’s his whole life. The restaurant is like his project from himself to the world. How he’s feeling inside because he’s very healthy.
Chef Marta Skolvronek is from Bologna, Italy. Head Chef Andres Paz is from Venezuela. He started over in Spain as a culinary student. Gabriel Monagas is also from Venezuela and works as their waiter.
They came up with the name because Sergio likes the tea and it’s a mix between Asia, Europe and Latin America. Chaitea haus food is a different language, chai is very healthy for you. Together it’s 3 continents difference. “We make new foods all the time with the tides (different),” says Sergio. “Fresher, great taste with a splash of color for fusion. People eat with their eyes. Color and fusion is important for that.”
Why sin gluten? “Because we eat all healthy foods,” Sergio says. “It’s healthy for the people and get them to start eating and thinking healthy, clean for the body and lifestyle. To have good body. They need to think of themselves – kinds of foods they eat, what is better for them, they are what they eat. They can prevent diseases by eating healthy the rest of their lives. Less sickness, cancer, diabetes, etc.”
They opened October 2016. “It was hard work,” he says. “We found this place very different so we started from zero. Everything here is new and expensive too. We’re happy with it.” Severino and Barrelo are happy that they’ve joined their family in Spain and accomplished their “plan”. They carved out the perfect niche right in Barcelona. It’s a dream come true. Plans are already in motion for their next project sometime in 2018.
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