IGCAT Regional Chef Ambassador_Cristina Pons_Menorca

Cristina Pons

IGCAT Regional Chef Ambassador from
Menorca, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2023

“My goal in cooking is to transmit through a dish and its story my way of seeing and living life, as well as my memories and experiences. I believe that people are happy when enjoying food and in the end, that is what I like about being a chef: having in my hands the possibility to bring moments of happiness.”

Cristina Pons Benavides is the finalist who represented Menorca, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2023 at the European Young Chef Award 2023 and won 2nd Prize.

Cristina is 23 years old and she has concluded a higher degree in Kitchen Management at EHTB in Barcelona. Since she was a child, everyone knew that what she liked most was cooking and, after two years studying Economics, she decided to dedicate herself to what made her feel complete.

“Menorca today is a gastronomic reference thanks to the sustainable way in which local people have taken care of their land and sea, and all of the products they provide,” claims Cristina. “For this reason, in recent years we have been trying to give our island the visibility it deserves and show the rest of the world our culinary richness, that always goes hand in hand with the history of our land.”

“Being able to participate in the European Young Chef Award 2023 was a great challenge and, at the same time, an excellent opportunity to learn and live moments with other young people who share my same passion: cooking,” she adds.

At the European Young Chef Award 2023, Cristina presented her dish Records (Memories), an innovative interpretation of the traditional recipe Calamars plens, a dish of stuffed calamari that is typically served in Menorca at Christmas. According to the tradition, in most Menorcan families there were some members who would go out and fish squids to cook them at Christmas Eve, when the whole family gathered around the table.

“An enchanting image when Christmas time approaches, is seeing all the boats leaving Ciutadella port at sunset, with all their lights, heading out to fish squid,” explains Cristina. “The inspiration to create my innovative version of this recipe comes from those festive moments shared with my family, and that cheerful feeling of coming back home that grows even stronger when it comes with good food.”