Paz Corral's story would give for a Netflix series, but she prefers to tell "the short one". Potato tortillas are passed through her stove at the same rate that they are finished on the counter. That's how fast the hours go by, juggling and avoiding any food waste as much as possible to keep the price of lunch and the menu of the day -5.50 and 11.90 euros, respectively- from her cafeteria.
“There is no one like us around here,” he says about his small premises in the center of Valencia where he prepares homemade food for the workers in the area with the fresh produce that he orders from one day to the next. His experience of having to eat away from home every day has helped him understand the importance of preparing a balanced menu.
Paz worked as a trainer for the staff of a well-known French children's fashion firm, Okaïdi, which no longer operates in our country, but continues to distribute around the world. It was that, mainly, her reason that forced her to make a disruptive decision. «I spent eight years in Spain ten days a month because we opened stores in Milan or India, but here the brand did not finish working and since they had the headquarters in France, they offered me to go there. I didn't want to because I had my whole family here," she tells ABC.
He used the large compensation to take a year off and enjoy his daughter. It was her mother who pushed her to launch herself into the hotel business when the owner of the equestrian center where the girl practiced horse riding asked her if she knew someone who could take charge of the farm's restaurant area. Her vocation as her cook, which she began to emerge as a child, when she shared the housework with her five brothers in her native Galicia, had not gone unnoticed by her friends either.
«I have fed the Roig, the Ros Casares, the Pellicer... The cheapest menu I had was 40 euros, but all homemade. I went myself to buy at the Central Market. They were people who traveled a lot and on the weekend they wanted to eat as if they were at home. Among those delicacies, one in particular stood out: its slightly curdled and very creamy potato omelette. «He began to get out of hand and the word spread. Politicians began to come, like Zaplana », he assures in reference to the former minister and former president of the Generalitat. Even Carmen Alcayde praised the virtues of his creation in the late 'Aquí hay tomato'.
But soon Paz understood that she had the same problem as before: she worked from Monday to Sunday and barely had time to spend with her daughter, now of legal age and about to start her university studies in the United States. The proposal of one of her clients, owner of a ground floor in the center of Valencia, opened her eyes in 2013. It was then that she was born Pizcueta 14.
Today, Tuesday, he has made a minimum of 30 or 40 tortillas. On a Friday it can reach 90. In fact, it has been part of the daily menu for more than a year and accounts for almost 60% of the first courses it serves. «A couple of food critics came without us knowing and we began to appear in the media. They offered us to participate in the Spanish championship at the Alicante Fair with nine other finalist chefs », she says excitedly. She will return there again in September, "knowing what it is" and with her team made up of her partner and three other workers, to enjoy it together.
«It got out of hand, we didn't have staff because they told us that we would make a few tortillas for people to taste. I ended up making 279 by myself with my husband peeling the potatoes. We had a queue of a hundred people both days. It was a triumph, but I ended up sick », she comments.
“People come to me from all over Spain. Owners of very important newspapers have come on the AVE, eaten and left. I know it's incredible, but there is tortilla tourism. «I have sent tortillas to Zubin Mehta -one of the best conductors in the world- to Florence because he was having a bad time. A friend told him: what do you want me to bring you from Spain? And he said: an omelette of Peace. We vacuum-packed it and he took it to him in a refrigerator. Then they told me that he had eaten it whole », he explains with a laugh.
The secret of his success, he says, is "doing it as well as possible, with a lot of passion, for whoever it is", and although he does not dare settle the eternal debate on whether this very Spanish dish should be cooked with or without onions, Paz knows that most of their clients are from the first group. "I guess because it's juicier," she says. In any case, at the Pizcueta 14 counter -in reference to the street where it is located- there is something for all tastes: with onion, without onion, with Roquefort, with truffle, with foie, 'Almussafes' -sobrasada, onion and cheese- and with Iberian ham
In addition, it boasts a good work environment. "In this place we celebrate everything: birthdays, carnival... The other day we made t-shirts because my husband and I were celebrating our 20th birthday together," Paz exemplifies, while defining herself as a "lucky" woman -although she never she has caught "lying on the sofa" - because she has always found someone who has offered her a hand. Without going any further from her, her owner did not charge her the rent for the bar since they closed for the 2020 confinement until the end of that same year.
Now, with her daughter at university, she does not consider returning to her role as an executive: «I am so comfortable... We had a great time. Why am I leaving? Now my priority is to do what I do well, enjoy it and live." She remembers how, returning from the national competition and after two exhausting days, her husband, an electromechanical engineer by training, asked her: "Do you realize at what point in our lives we came from making tortillas in Alicante?" There is no time to develop the answer further, the pans are already on fire again.