"Guisandera" stewmistress and chef at El Llar de Viri (San Román de Cándamo, Asturias)
True to the history of Asturias' "guisandera" stewmistresses, Elvira (Viri) is the guardian of traditional recipes.
Viri Fernández is the chef and owner of the El Llar de Viri restaurant, and since it opened in 1996 it has become a temple of traditional cuisine and of Asturias' gastronomic memory.
Before opening El Llar de Viri, Elvira worked as a sales rep to provide for her three children until an accident prevented her from undertaking any more long drives. She decided to go back to her own village and to the family home and business, a cured meats warehouse, and the butcher's shop where they sold their produce. This return to her origins was also a return to cooking, and she has now implemented a genuine philosophy of life and cookery guilds alongside her travelling companions, the "guisanderas". Her right-hand woman in the kitchen, Majo (María José Miranda), her pupil, cook and daughter-in-law, also joined this club. This ensures that the torch will be passed on to the next generation in the kitchen, and also on the restaurant floor, where her son Daniel works.
El Llar de Viri recently won the Michelin Green Star as a tribute to an understanding of cuisine in relation to the land, and therefore cuisine which is respectful of the land.