The new season on television has started this week and one of the most anticipated new features is Masterchef celebrity, which premieres on Thursday on La 1: "The casting is very varied, very fun with Toñi Moreno, Los Morancos, Laura Mondoño, Jesulín, Muñoz Escasi... I think it's an edition that will take off, because we enjoyed it a lot while we were shooting it", explains Samantha Vallejo-Nágera, by phone from the boat on which she has been sailing with her family for the Balearic Islands a few days ago.
For 11 years, he has been a judge in all versions of Masterchef with Pepe Rodríguez and Jordi Cruz. "I don't find my work as a judge difficult at all, it's just that sometimes I feel sorry if they put in the effort and it turns out badly, especially the children." He defends that it is an entertainment program, "those who want to see pure cuisine should connect to the kitchen channel".
For Samantha, all these years have been learning "cooking, television, psychology... it's been like a master's degree in total life", but above all, she confesses that she has learned about the gastronomy of Spain in the many places that they have visited to film the exterior tests. And mostly thanks to Masterchef, Samantha has been able to meet a lot of people in the interviews she does with the diners and made a lot of new friends among the more than 500 contestants who have gone through the show. She highlights the famous Santiago Segura, Ona Carbonell or Tamara Falcó, who invited her to his liaison with Íñigo Onieva. "It was a fantastic wedding and the best thing was that they took away our mobile phones so that no photos were leaked and we felt very free."
For Samantha Vallejo-Nágera, what has been the most difficult for her to adapt to television is having to spend so many hours on a set: "In the beginning, when it was recorded at the Buñuel studios, I would go from my house doing futing. I'm from being outdoors, riding a bike or motorbike, that's why I have catering, because it's hospitality on wheels and I'm changing spaces".
At the same time that Masterchef celebrity is broadcast, the whole team - including Jordi Cruz, who has just made his debut as a father - begins the recording of Masterchef junior, which can be seen at Christmas. Although he is passionate about his work, for Vallejo-Nágera his priority is his children: "They are very teenagers and you have to be on top of them. Chloe (20) is studying hospitality in Switzerland, Pedro (19) is still not very clear about what he wants to study, and then there is Patrick, known as Roscón (15), and Diego (12)”.
The chef has just embarked on a new business venture, Casa Samantha, a home line that started with colorful plates, glasses and cutlery. But his true passion is Casa Taverna, his restaurant and hotel in the town square of Segovia de Pedraza. " I combine leisure and work. I've been going there since I was 4 years old and it's our weekend and holiday retreat. In the summer I like the atmosphere, the parties, the balconies with flowers, the cool nights... and the affection of the people, especially the children, who come to the restaurant specifically to see me". There is no doubt that she is in love with the area: "The Italians sell Tuscany very well and we don't know how to sell this area, which is very similar, where there is good gastronomy and you can do routes by bike or on horseback.
This summer he discovered the Dyc distilleries, which he now also recommends to the guests of his Casa Taverna: "I had never been there before and it's worth it because it's a very enjoyable and educational visit and you learn about bottlings for the aging of whiskey and on the different cereals. I think it's just as important to learn about food as it is about drink and I, visiting the distillery, have discovered that the pairing of whiskey is done with cheese or chocolate and I'm learning cocktails with soda, coffee or orange to offer this autumn that is already near".