Words of gratitutde by José Gordón
Good morning. It is a great honour to be here today. I would like to convey my enormous gratitude to El Adelanto Bañezano, to the authorities and to all of you who are here accompanying me on what is a marvellous day for me. I know that many people from La Bañeza and the area deserve this recognition as much as me.
I warn you that I am not a good public speaker, because my passion has always been to be a chef, particularly a Grill Chef. I was lucky enough to be born in Jiménez de Jamuz to the smell of the heather on the fire in the pottery ovens, as a premonition of my future relationship with fire.
I was born into a humble family of farmers and in contact with nature, which gave me a wonderful childhood, with some lovely moments and of course, others that were difficult. But it was a time of principles, when things didn’t change quickly, even over decades, where honesty was important and a person’s word was their bond. I was never a studious child, although I used to scrape through; I was more interested in fishing or looking for nests, having experiences and contact with the living world. Even so, I trained in Cantabria where I learned about farming and cattle; I had the honour of taking care of Sultán, the famous bull that covered more than a million cows, and in the holidays I helped with the tasks on the farm and serving wine in the summer season. This helped to compensate for the 5000 pesetas that my family made the effort to send me every month, and meant that I helped to pay for agrarian social security, which was my mother’s biggest concern.
She was a marvellous woman, to whom I owe my values of hard work and honesty.
I was lucky enough to feel a deep attraction for this magical, mystical animal, which changed my life and made me feel passion and a reason for working for something with love, sacrifice and an obsessive force.
And of course, I must mention La Bañeza, our reference, which has been with us all the time, from the livestock and pottery markets, which the whole region used as a meeting point, to the fruit and vegetable market which continues to this day.
La Bañeza has always been here for us since childhood; it was where we came to buy our first clothes and the shoes that would carry us along life’s road. It was where we came in adolescence, where we would feel our first exciting experiences in its modern bars and clubs, its Easter Week, its carnivals, the smell of the petrol of our venerated motorbike race … we have all these things etched in fire on our memory and on our DNA. For all this, I want to thank La Bañeza for everything I have experienced.
I would also like to make a reflection; I think we live in an austere part of the country, which has always been unprotected compared with other regions, and maybe we do not have all the resources we would like. But we do have people with imagination and ingenuity. We have history, gastronomy and the ability to organize events that transport us to other times. Easter Week, the Justas festival, the Motorbike Race, the Astures and Romans festival, Carnival, the Bean festival and many more that will come in the future. We have pioneering companies such as in the bean sector, special crops and innovators in agriculture, wineries that are making a strong comeback in rural areas, and we also sometimes have meaningless complexes and rivalries that distract us from the synergies of working together for this land.
We must add and not subtract. We must attract quality national tourism and offer modern attractions for visitors, generating a valuable economy for everyone. And we mustn’t reject any good project, no matter how small it may seem. In short, we must work together.
And finally, I would like to thank my father, for his work and feeling of belonging to the land and El Capricho, my son Ismael and my family, for their patience and understanding that I haven’t spent more time with them during this journey of mine, and I also want to thank all of my friends for their support and understanding that I haven’t spent more time on our friendship. Of course, I would like to thank my partner Noe, for her support and unconditional love, because without that none of this would be happening. And I would like to thank all my team for their hard work and dedication, and their faith in me. Thank you all from my heart.
Although I am from Jimenez and the Comarca, today I feel a little more like a citizen of La Bañeza. Thank you.