Updated July 2020
Today is International Women’s Day – the perfect opportunity to highlight a few of the many women I admire within the gastronomy and hotels sector on Mallorca.
Charlotte Miller – Bodega Biniagual
Charlotte is at the helm of the winery owned by her German family, Bodega Biniagual, just outside the tiny hamlet of Biniagual – all of which belongs to the winery. The picturesque and peaceful hamlet is a magical place to visit – and the wines at the more modern bodega are pretty splendid too.
Ilka Karl – formerly of Es Princep Hotel, Palma
Ilka – also German – worked in Mallorca’s 5-star St Regis Mardavall Mallorca Resort and Gran Hotel Son Net before taking up her post as general manager of Palma’s 5-star Sant Francesc Hotel Singular for its opening in 2015. In 2017 she left that hotel to take on the challenge of opening another new hotel – Es Princep in Palma. She has since left to do consultancy work in the hotel industry.
Macarena de Castro – Maca de Castro
Mallorcan Macarena is the only female chef on the island to have had her cuisine awarded a Michelin star. Her signature cuisine at Maca de Castro is derived from authentic Mallorcan recipes. In the past, the former Fine Arts student used to spend the winters – when her family’s restaurant in Alcúdia is closed – working alongside renowned chefs around the world, to enhance her skills. Maca has closed her eponymous restaurant for the shorter 2020 season and is now at the helm of new restaurant Andana in Palma de Mallorca (right next to the Intermodal station).
Barbara Mesquida Mora – Bodega Mesquida Mora
This passionate young woman (and mum) is from the fourth generation of a well-known wine-making family on Mallorca. After she and her brother left the family winery they had been running, she launched her own Mesquida Mora winery in Porreres, in 2013, cultivating her vines in line with biodynamic practices.
Maria and Teresa Solivellas – Ca Na Toneta restaurant
You’ll find sisters Maria and Teresa at their delightful family-run restaurant Ca Na Toneta in the village of Caimari – famous for its annual olive fair in the autumn. Organic produce sourced from as close to home as possible is turned into delicious cuisine by Maria in the kitchen. Her Mallorcan ‘coca’ – a cheese-less pizza-like dish – is a particular treat. Michelle Obama ate here during her visit to Mallorca last year.
Itziar Rodríguez – Zaranda, Es Capdellà
Itziar has been the manager of the Michelin-starred Zaranda since Fernando P Arellano first opened in Madrid in 2005. The restaurant moved to Mallorca and, was located within the 5-star Castell Son Claret hotel in the southwest of the island, where it was the Balearics’ only restaurant with two Michelin stars. Zaranda has left the hotel in 2020 and we await details of its future location. Meanwhile, you’re likely to see Itziar at Fernando P Arellano’s other restaurant, Baiben, in Puerto Portals.
Maria Salinas – Maria Salinas Restaurant, Mancor del Vall
Maria’s smile alone would be enough to light up her cosy little townhouse restaurant in the foothills of the Tramuntana mountains. Maria is often referred to as la madame de la cuisine. The Balearic Association of Gastronomy Journalists and Writers presented her with the award for Revelation Restaurant 2017 – shared with the restaurant Vandal in Santa Catalina, Palma, and Makro has named her their Ambassador Chef.
Update: Maria Salinas left Mallorca for a new life chapter in Norway. Her daughter Andrea Urbano has taken over the premises – now a bar – in Mancor del Vall.
Marga Coll – Miceli, Selva & Arrels by Marga Coll, Illetes
Marga shops at the market each day to decide what she will cook in her village restaurant Miceli in the village of Selva, just a couple of kilometres from Inca. The restaurant is the family home and her husband runs front of house. Arrels by Marga Coll offers her delicious cuisine in a 5-star hotel setting on the southwest coast. Her breakfast/brunch at Arrels has been highly recommended and is on our list to try this season.
Let’s not forget…
I must also mention chef Cati Pieras at DaiCa in Llubí; Justine Murphy – the English chef at the helm of multi-division gastronomy business mymuybueno in Palma; Ruth Gindi, the Irish chef at the organic restaurant Santosha she runs with her husband in Palma; Marta Rosselló chef/patron at Sal de Cocó in Colònia de Sant Jordi; Claire Hutchings – 2011 MasterChef The Professionals’ finalist in the UK and former sous chef at Zaranda; German chef Caroline Fabian from Private Cooking, and Swedish chef Svenja Galle – whose Bellaverde Restaurant in Port de Pollença was named Best Vegan Restaurant 2018 – Majorca. And, although she works in Mallorcan waters, rather than on land, Sandra van Oorschot – the cook in yacht charter business Captain Cook. All these women work with passion and skill.
And let’s not forget the many other women who play a less-prominent role, in front of or behind the scenes, in looking after their guests in the gastronomy and hospitality sector. Raise a glass of Mallorcan wine, if you will, to the unsung heroines of this industry in Mallorca on this International Women’s Day.
©Jan Edwards 2018