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Hotel Convento La Magdalena


We speak with David Muñoz Arévalo, Executive Chef of Grupo Antequera Golf and head of the restoration of Hotel Antequera, Campo de Golf Restaurant and Restaurant the Refectory of Hotel Convento la Magdalena.

How many years of experience do you have as a chef?

Well, it is approaching twenty. I started with my brother, who is also a chef, and then I trained at Convento of Santo Domingo de Archidona (Málaga).

And directing the restoration of the group?

In the Antequera Golf Group I have been nine years already. We reached almost ten, so I am experienced in the group.

What are the functions you perform in the Antequera Group?

In a global way, I try to make each restaurant fresh, seasonal, with local products and with new trends.

Do you remember the vital experience that made you interested in cooking?

It was in my home. My parents managed a restaurant, and we are three brothers who are dedicated to the world of restoration. Little by little I started training in the school and in the places where I have been in practice. That is what makes you want to continue.

Is there any person that has been important to stimulate your interest in this profession?

My mother. From a very young age, when I woke up, she was already close to the kitchen preparing food for a large family. She joined me to take me to the markets with her and to see the products.

What have been the most important milestones in your cooking education?

I have worked in restaurants of very high level. The first one I was at was the Hotel Ritz, where I was in every kitchen brigade (groups of people responsible for different elaborations or products within the organizational chart of a kitchen). Then I was at Celler de Can Roca and El Bulli de Ferrán Adrià.

If you had to define your cooking style, how would you do it?

In each of the restaurants I print a cooking style. The one on the Golf Course is a more rotisserie-type cooking with simple products. Selected products and simple preparation give good results. In La Vinoteca we have a young and modern method, with fusion, like Japanese meals, and also with quality products and very fun elaborations. In the Hotel Convento la Magdalena we make a more gourmet cuisine, with products of the highest quality and much more elaboration, pampering both the presentation and the product.
Traditional or modern cuisine?
Cooking is always linked with tradition. It is tradition that makes cooking taste and identity. There is no modern cuisine without tradition.
How many people are part of your team?
Normally we have a fixed team, but at specific moments we become close to forty. There is the base team, which we are around twelve or fifteen people, and in temporary moments they are joining more supports
What values ​​are you trying to impart to your team?
I want them to convey the security that I bring to them, to be sure that what we are doing is good and that they respect the product a lot.
If you had to highlight something from your co-workers, would it?
Commitment. We all have a very strong commitment. We are a very young workforce and eager for the Gastronomy in Antequera every day to go further.
How relevant are the raw materials in your elaborations?
The raw material is everything. With good raw material and little else we can make a spectacular meal. It is not necessary many times that the product is worked so much. There is a phrase that says "less is more" that seems very important to me. You have to respect the product. With very little we can make a great meal, but not mix too many things.
Could you highlight some products that are of special relevance to them?
The first one would be the extra virgin olive oil, we have a very high quality oil here in Andalusia and in the region of Antequera. It is a product that should be present in any kitchen, both to cook and to finish any dish with a few drops of that liquid gold that we have. Then also a fish that is very common, such as hake or whiting, whose finesse or delicacy can make it spectacular. Also highlight Malaga's prawn, for its smoothness, or how not to mention the sardine we have here on the coast of Malaga. And another product that I would develop would be the beans, the fresh or canned beans here in Antequera are excellent.

What do you want to convey to the people who eat your preparations?

I want you not to stay with just being good. I want it to be a sensation, that from the beginning I enter by the sight and that when I eat it, I am left wanting more, to come back and repeat and recommend it.

An to say goodbye, could you point to if there is a recipe or ideal proposal to ask for during the next months?

We are always thinking what we can do and in constant phase of devising new dishes. Now we are going to make a gastronomic day of cod in Restaurante Campo de Golf. We have incredible dishes, with the same salted cod as the tradition dictates, then desalinated for 48 hours, and the single cod, battered with egg and flour, and fried in a good olive oil, is spectacular. We also do it with tomato, croquettes with pine nuts and spinach... Now we also have fresh beans. For example we are going to make a typical recipe here that is a Porrilla de habas, and also a porrilla of spinach with cod. And we have a tasting menu, Locura de dos, in which we try that the client sees in six dishes the best of the Convent and my nine years of experience in the Antequera Golf Group.