Within the transformation of their sector, the print media is fighting for survival. However, the culinary media is doing so successfully. In fact, there is a sector within the Spanish specialised culinary media that is reclaiming the role. Whilst age-old publications such as the ‘Club de Gourmets’ or ‘Sobremesa’ magazines continue knocking up years and publishing each month, two new editorial projects have emerged in the past year: ‘Tamiz’ and ‘Madrid Comestible’; two innovative magazines thanks to their design, different way of handling contents and cultural contribution. Important publications for the sector must be added to these, such as the gastronomy and haute cuisine notebook that is published every six months (May and November) ‘Apicius’ or the rural flavour magazine ‘Origen’, which concentrates on portraying the characteristics of quality Spanish products.
Both these specialised publications and the culinary sections of the major Spanish daily newspapers cannot be understood without the work of culinary critics, a profession which began in 1973 by Francisco Moreno de Herrera, Conde de los Andes, who signed his columns under the pseudonym of Savarin. He was the first to sharpen his quill to give his opinion on the restaurants he visited and educate readers in fine dining. After him, many others have carried out this task, looking no further than his daughter, Ymelda Moreno de Arteaga, who inherited her father’s interest in culinary reviews and signed under the pseudonym of Zenón in the weekly publication, Blanco y Negro, and in the daily, Ya. But Víctor de la Serna Senior, Nines Arenillas, Xavier Domingo, Nestor Luján, Luis Betónica, Jose Carlos Capel or Víctor de la Serna Junior, are also some of the leading references in Spanish culinary reviews.
Along with the reviews and culinary magazines, the important role of the Repsol Guide, originally the Campsa Guide, in the spread of gastronomy must also be highlighted. Since its birth in 1979, its main objective has been “support and commitment to tourism and national gastronomy, focusing on becoming the best companion to advise travellers to enjoy the diversity of our landscapes and flavours”. Supporting this, we have witnessed the emergence of other guides, such as Metrópoli, with seven editions under its belt, and which includes the best places to eat and drink in Madrid.
“Gastronomy is gaining importance in the Spanish society and proof of this is the increase in the number of pages that the daily newspapers and lifestyle magazines devote to sections related to the culinary world”.
Thanks to its efforts, the media in the sector is still growing and Spain has the most innovative, demanding and comprehensive publications. Gastronomy is gaining importance in Spanish society and proof of this is the increase in the number of pages that the daily newspapers and lifestyle magazines devote to sections related to the culinary world. Further proof of this is the increased airtime that television devotes to gastronomy. This sector has developed considerably since ‘Con las manos en la masa’, the first cookery programme shown on the small screen in 1983 and presented by Elena Santoja. This evolution cannot be understood without the famous Karlos Arguiñano, a classic in on-screen kitchens, who has spent decades entertaining the audience with his recipes spiced with humour. We must also highlight programmes filled with didactic contents, such as ‘Un país para comérselo’, which received the national award for Gastronomy 2010 or recent hits like ‘Masterchef’ or ‘Top Chef’, two of the latest shows to emerge, whose format fills prime time television.
The radio also contributes and participates in raising awareness of gastronomy in Spain. Today, different programmes are broadcast that keep listeners up to date with the latest culinary innovation and trends. A good example of such programmes are ‘El Gato Gourmet’, on Radio Intereconomía, “a space for culture, gastronomy, wine and oils” presented by Andrés Sanchez Magro; ‘Mesa y Descanso’ on Gestiona Radio, a programme hosted by Mar Romero; or ‘A la Mesa’, on Radio Inter, focusing on culinary interviews and debates chaired by Jonatan Armegol. On the other hand, there are also spaces devoted to gastronomy in programmes like ‘Hoy por Hoy’ and ‘A Vivir que Son Dos Días’ on Cadena Ser, ‘Aquí en la Onda Madrid’ on Onda Cero and ‘Las mañanas de Radio Nacional de España’ on the national channel. We cannot ignore that all this interest in gastronomy has led to the setting up of the world’s first culinary radio station. ‘Gastroradio’.