imageimageI couldn’t let this week go by without a shout out to one of the most talented people in modern British cookery. Some people that you meet make a real impact. It’s not everyday you come across them but when you do, their personality, passion and talent catches your breath.

Jonray Sanchez-Iglesius was one of these people. I first met Jonray, his brother Peter and Dad Paco a few years ago when they were developing their test kitchen at Casamia in Westbury-on-Trym, one of Bristol City’s true Villages. My husband Alan and I were lucky enough to have Jonray and Peter cook for us one autumn lunchtime and I remember it like it was yesterday. To say that the food was outstanding is an understatement.

You hear the phrase ‘Passion on a plate’ a lot when describing the food of truly talented chefs but the whole experience with Jonray and Peter was more than that. It was an emotional journey through their childhood by which you could understand their love of seasonal food and the importance they placed on ‘food memories’. Two things very close to my heart.

One element that particularly stuck in my mind was the hot apple pie, served in amongst a sea of dry ice. The smell of the pie and the sensation of the ice smoke swirling around us created a magnificent effect which the boys explained very simply: It symbolised the memory of autumn at their gran’s house. The cooking of the apple pie managed to steam up the house. (We’ve all been there!) So much so that the back door needed to be opened to let in some fresh air. It instantly took me back to my days of being at home as a kid and my parents doing exactly the same. It really brought a smile to my face.

I know Peter, Paco, Susan and the family will continue to build on Jonray legacy and the next generation of Casamia is sure to be something spectacular. My thoughts go to Jonray’s wife Kirsty and daughters Olive and Bella. I can’t imagine what you are going through.

For putting Bristol well and truly on the food map, for bringing British food to the forefront of world cuisine and for being a genuine bloke from one of the nicest families in the business, we miss you already Jonray.


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