That Italian in Tenerife

We meet chef Andrea Bernardi: his creative and “nomad” cuisine convinced us

07-08-2014
Chef Andrea Bernardi, 36: Italian (originally from

Chef Andrea Bernardi, 36: Italian (originally from Marino, in the Castelli Romani area) together with his Chilean wife Fernanda Fuentes Cárdenas offers a creative and evolved cuisine at Nómada, on the island of Tenerife. Which is beginning to be too small for him...

Can you fall in love in the kitchen? We’re about to speak about two loves at first sight. The first is the one between an Italian chef working in Tenerife, Andrea Bernardi, 36, and Fernanda Fuentes Cárdenas, young Chilean chef who arrived on the island for an internship and never left: the two are now husband and wife and are at the helm of Nómada, in El Sauzal, with a beautiful view of the ocean and an intelligent high quality bistronomy offer.

The second is the one between the author of this piece and Bernardi’s cuisine: original, technical, elegant. I’ve rarely met such an evolved style in a location unknown to guides. Of course the fault is that of the peripheral position of the island: indeed, Tenerife is not around the corner. And while few are prophets in their country (Bernardi, originally from Marino, in the Castelli Romani area, after some experience in Italy – including some months with Heinz Beck – has worked in Germany and Austria before moving to Spain, in Valencia), something else is also true: it is hard for an Italian to stand out if he doesn’t want to speak about pummarola, limoncello and mandolins and avoids stereotypes but instead is focused on contemporaneity – and has three different roners, just to give an example.

One of Bernardi’s latest creations, which we had not the chance to taste but we would like very much: Tomates marinados, caballa ahumada y tocino ibérico, that is to say six different types of tomatoes, marinated in a different way (with garlic, lemon, basil, coriander, Peruvian yellow chilli pepper and oregano), with smoked mackerel and Iberian pancetta

One of Bernardi’s latest creations, which we had not the chance to taste but we would like very much: Tomates marinados, caballa ahumada y tocino ibérico, that is to say six different types of tomatoes, marinated in a different way (with garlic, lemon, basil, coriander, Peruvian yellow chilli pepper and oregano), with smoked mackerel and Iberian pancetta

So we’re going to speak well of Bernardi and with certainty. Because he’s got talent, passion... and more than that, these are only promises and premises for the future, while we have tasted dishes that were already sound, fully balanced, after having visited the cellar. It is here that the chefs serves his most elaborate menu – only one table available – called Pensamiento: a dozen recipes rooted in the fact they have no roots (nomadic dishes, in fact, just like the name of the restaurant). In other words, they are the perfect and brave synthesis of the essence of the place in which they are conceived: the Canaries, a bridge between cultures, a European enclave on African land, but stretching to the New World. For instance, there are many incursions from Latin America, unveiling the happy influence of Fernanda: such as in the use of piure, a Chilean coral-coloured invertebrate that is the guest of honour in a cauliflower, white garlic and lemon balm oil cream.

Mullet with a stock made with toasted hazelnuts, radishes, beets and lavender

Mullet with a stock made with toasted hazelnuts, radishes, beets and lavender

South American echoes can also be noticed in another dish, a delicious dessert: Pumpkin (marinated for 12 hours in a stock with spices, with 5 different types of pepper) with raw almond oil, cooked apple, yellow ají ice cream (a Peruvian chilli pepper) and rosemary oil, components and textures are measured with extreme precision, as required in pastry making, with the extra touch of the hot note making the difference. It was the perfect conclusion for a dinner with other peaks. “Ensalada de calamar”: tomato water gelatine, mini squids, raw peas, onion heart, a reduction of squid ink, endive, a finish of various sprouts that marked as many different aromatic background. Mullet with a stock made with hazelnuts, radishes, beets and lavender, with the last, unexpected component becoming the keystone: a great idea. And the following dish, surf and turf, the black pig guanciale meets the Atlantic horse mackerel in a borderline marriage with many witnesses: celery leaves juice, apple, celery, peanuts, coriander and juniper oil. The final impression was that of an innovative cuisine that is already mature, in which the dimension of the Canaries is starting to be a little too small.

Bernardi has also founded the Frack chefs group, of which 35-year-old Catalan Pau Bermejo is also a member – he dishes out (with happy though less creative results) at Casa Maquila, a nice restaurant in nearby Santa Cruz de Tenerife, among the streets of the casco historico on the Unesco world heritage list.


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