Lagunera to the death, Jazz dancer on stage, but also on the stage that represents for her the dining room of a restaurant. An incomparable storyteller and master of ceremonies. She radiates passion for her work, which has her divided between Madrid, Gofioand Gran Canaria, Cuernocabraher two restaurants. That's Aida González, energy, strength and creativity in the purest Canariedad Máxima style.
First act, the room
Aida González was born on 28 December 1987 in La Laguna, Tenerife, and runs the Gofio restaurant in Madrid, together with chef Safe Cruz, as head waitress, a space that represents her true passion. She has studied cocktail making at the Madrid Chamber of Commerce and has taken several intensive courses at the Basque Culinary Center, as well as level two of The Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET).
The word energy defines her and she hasn't stopped moving since she was three years old. First, rhythmic gymnastics, then jazz. When you ask her about it nowadays, she always ends up relating it to her work. "When I was three years old I started rhythmic gymnastics and when I was fourteen I got into jazz. Inevitably, when I talk about dance or my work, I always end up relating both concepts, because in the end a restaurant room is pure movement, like a dance choreography".
Aida González: "The dining room is pure movement, like a choreographed dance".
Aida González describes the dining room as the stage on which everything happens and, since she started her life's project in 2013, she has always known that it is her place in the restaurant. " The dining room is the space that has to express everything that happens in the kitchen, it is the staging of all the work behind the project", she explains, and she likens the role of the staff to that of a master of ceremonies, who narrates and tells everything, from the products to the dishes or even the recipe book.
She thinks that the dining room is still the forgotten area when it comes to talking about a restaurant, but that it is becoming more important every day: "Customers tell you when they come to the restaurant, the food was incredible, but thanks to the dining room we also had a good time and we understood the reason for everything". It is clear that Aida González understands perfectly the current work of the dining room, which is as necessary in the running of a good restaurant as the kitchen itself.
Aida González: "There are more and more of us and we are valued for our professionalism".
Even so, she believes that it is not only this that is forgotten, but also the role that women play in a restaurant. "Our work is still not taken into account in all jobs. But there are more and more of us and we are valued for our professionalism", she explains. "It's like: here we are, we are doing well and we are women.
Living by and for gastronomy
Gastronomy is part of her life twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, as well as the concept that she and Safe Cruz have created, present in Gofio, but also in Cuernocabra. "Everything has to do with gastronomy and our concept. It is one hundred percent linked. The restaurants we go to, what we buy to eat at home, the wines we drink... In short, I live by and for gastronomy".
Another of the couple's shared passions, in addition to the aforementioned gastronomy, is travelling. They have visited as many places as possible, seeking to get to know and learn new concepts and styles in order to nourish themselves with them and never stop learning. All this has led them to eat and drink in an infinite number of restaurants.
Therefore, in her spare time, Aida González loves to try new things. Moreover, she says that the world of wine is something she is truly passionate about. "It really makes me travel. I'm drinking German wine in Madrid and somehow it transports me to Germany. I also really like to see and know what goes on behind each project of the wines I drink, visit wineries, vineyards...".
Aida González: "Everything that happens around me makes me spark".
Everything she is passionate about inspires her. Currently, her life is divided between the Canary Islands and Madrid and this means that the plane is for her, as for Safe Cruz, a bus that she must constantly take. "When talking about inspiration, even the planes themselves do it. Everything that happens around me makes me spark, a detail, a smile, something that has happened to me...".
The perfect combination
In Aida González's life, the figure of Safe Cruz has always been important, both in the work sphere, as they have been fighting together for years for their common project, and in the personal sphere. She defines their relationship as a "symbiosis" and a "perfect rapport", where nothing would be understood if one of them were missing. "Safe gives me everything I lack. He is stubborn and never throws in the towel. Sometimes there are difficult moments, it's hard for me and I rethink things, but he's there to make sure that doesn't happen," he says.
Both have experienced hard times in their work, from their beginnings in Argüelles in 2013, but also many others full of happiness. When talking about her life, Aida González describes it as an accumulation of emotions and sensations, of moments at the top and moments at the bottom. "We have always known how to make the most of all the bad moments, squeeze the most out of them and turn them around".
The fact of facing problems with this attitude is also related to the restaurant's own dining room: "The dining room works in a similar way, where we have to know how to turn difficult situations around, to redirect them from the worst to the best".
Aida González: "We have always been able to make the most of all the bad times, squeeze the most out of them and turn them around".
This fighting attitude towards her work and project means that, when you ask her about the happiest moment in her career, she has a clear date in mind: 20 November 2019, the day GOFIO receives its first Michelin star. "That day I knew that all the effort and work we were putting in was paying off".
For Aida González, her work is her life. Every morning she wakes up with a goal in mind. She fights for what she wants, nobody has given her anything for free and that is clear to her. She finds inspiration in the smallest details, she is always attentive to everything. She lives with passion and to the limit. A clear example for all those people who have a dream or a goal and who want to give up, there is no giving up. If she had to say something to the girl she was when she started this journey, she has it clear: "Hold on tight, the adventure of a lifetime is about to begin".
If you want to know more about this great team and their concept of Canariedad Máxima, we leave you here the link to the interview with chef Safe Cruz, pure Rock&Roll in the kitchen .
Photos: Edu Gorostiza