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Prestigious award for chef and sommelier recognises “ambassador of Canary cuisine” 

A well-known award-winning Tenerife chef and sommelier has been officially recognised for taking the Canaries to national and international levels.

Mario Torres Hernández was honoured during the sixth regional restaurant awards held recently at “La Carpa” of Golf Las Américas.

Mario, who is currently manager and chef of “El lagar Donde Mario”, received recognition for his contribution during his professional career to the flowering of Canarian culinary traditions.

He was accompanied by his three sons and on this occasion, Fabián and Mario to represent the restaurant “El Calderito de la Abuela”, nominated in the category “Best traditional or modern cuisine”.

As many of our readers will already know, the Torres enterprise forms the Tripicotea group (www.tripicotea.com) with its three restaurants: El Calderito de la Abuela, La Bodeguita de Enfrente and El Lagar where Mario is based.

It is here that customers and friends choose to enjoy good food every day of the week in Santa Úrsula in the north of Tenerife.

Mario’s career is truly fascinating and varied, having notched up 50 years of experience in the world of catering.

He has run several sucessful restaurants in Tenerife: Restaurante Los Corales, Bodega de Mario, Marisquería Mario, La Bodeguita de Enfrente, El Calderito de la Abuela and currently Donde Mario.

He is a master of the bacalao fish cuisine from the School of Hospitality in Artxanda (Bilbao) and a master in Viticulture and Oenology from the University of La Laguna during the academic years 1993-4 and 1994-1995.

His ethos is very much based on what his restaurants offer: “Taste our dishes with your family and friends. Try a little of everything or dedicate yourself to what you like. Talk, laugh, share and, above all, enjoy eating.”

The origins of the history of this family dedicated to gastronomy date back to 1926 when Doña Ceferina Martín, with the savings that her husband Luis sent from Cuba, ran La Bodeguita de Enfrente, to feed the travellers .

Years later, her daughter, Dona Gregoria and her husband Manuel set out for Venezuela, like so many other Canarians in search of a prosperous future, where they opened several restaurants.

In 1967, back in the island, they inaugurated the Restaurant Los Corales, (now El Calderito de la Abuela), which years later under the direction of his son Mario Torres and his wife, Aouda Núñez, becomes a place of gastronomic reference on the island.

At present, the new generation, Mario Xavier and Fabián Torres, are also working with new ideas and projects in El Calderito de la Abuela, before Los Corales.

Mario Torres Hernández has won a multitude of accolades during his distinguished career, both as a chef and a distinguished sommelier, and has always prided himself on being an ambassador of Canarian cuisine. He has represented the islands at gastronomic and wine fairs here and on the mainland.

His awards are too numerous to mention, stretching into double figures, but come from prestigious competitons. His wines have won numerous contests and his unrivalled knowledge of wines also recognised with awards.

He has been president of the President of the Association of Sommeliers of the Canary Islands, a wine taster and a judge.

He also likes to share his secrets, being a teacher of workshops and courses with tastings of cheese, oils, coffee, vinegars etc.

Mario likes to surprise customers every day with his finds in the market, drawing on family recipes over four generations but introducing innovations as well, always using fresh and quality products accompanied by exquiste wines.

There is a small organic vegetable garden next to El Calderito de la Abuela where they grow aromatic plants, fruit and vegetables which are served in the three restaurants throughout the year.

“We sow, we touch the earth, we prepare and we harvest. Every day we pick up with affection what the garden gives us to offer it fresh. We prepare and cook our dishes with care to give the best of themselves at the table,” says Mario and his team.

His latest award is not only a personal recognition but a ringing endorsement for the trio of restaurants as well and what they are striving to achieve.

Carretera Provincial, 199,

Sta Úrsula

Tel: 922 30 45 85