Maria Jose Sevilla On Her Cocina de Andalucia

Maria Jose Sevilla is an award-winning Spanish food writer, broadcaster and presenter. She is an expert in traditional Hispanic food and recipes. Her BBC series 'Spain on a Plate' was pivotal to bringing a deeper understanding of classic Spanish cooking to the UK in the early 90s.

Equally passionate about wine as food, Maria holds the Diploma of the Wine and Spirit Education Trust. She is a member of the British Guild of Food Writers and has written several cookbooks about Spain and its culinary regions.

Here, she tells Sous Chef what's important in her kitchen.

Cocina de Andalucía by María José Sevilla, published by Ryland Peters & Small (£22). Photography by Nassima Rothacker © Ryland Peters & Small

What dish do you make most often?

Fish dishes. For example. I love a good Basque green sauce or a perfectly fried skate wing. Rice dishes are equally important as are tasty tomato salads dressed with oregano and the best Spanish extra virgin olive oil you can find.

What ingredients are always stocked in your pantry?

What’s your favourite ingredient to cook with right now?

So many. In Andalucía I have been cooking with amazing belly of tuna fish.

Where do you find inspiration?

In the markets, and in small restaurants not far from the markets. I follow chefs I admire; some have been my teachers. I also follow young chefs that challenge my way of thinking in the kitchen.

TRY: Maria's recipe for Empanadillas de Atún Con Pimientos Rojos y Cebolla Asados

Authentic Spanish empanada recipe

What ingredients have you recently discovered that you are excited about?

A pink cardoon from Navarra and a type of tomato that is still amazing in winter, known in Spain as ‘Raf’.

MORE: Browse all Spanish food and ingredients at Sous Chef

What is your favourite ingredient to work with and why?

I adore working with vegetables, the artichoke and the wild mushroom are two of my favoured ones. I am not a vegetarian, but I am a follower of the Mediterranean diet.

What do you cook, when you’re cooking for yourself?

Rice, vegetables and fish. I adore a good cream caramel following my father’s recipe.

What are the components of a fantastic meal for you?

If the bread, vegetables and wine are good, the rest can be excellent. Good company has always to be added.

TRY: Maria's recipe for Potaje De Garbanzos Con Espinacas

How do you stay current with food trends and incorporate them into your food?

Reading, talking about food and eating in new restaurants as often as I can. I also attend every year several food congresses such as ‘Gastronómica’ in San Sebastian and the Oxford Symposium of Food and Cookery. Furthermore, my son Daniel Taylor has become a very exciting chef so this helps.

Which cookbooks have shaped the way you cook yourself?

So many and from so many food writers and chefs. The majority are Spanish, old and new books, but others come from many other places in the world.

Books by Stephanie Alexander in Melbourne, the late Marisa Sanchez from El Echaurren in Rioja, Nacho Manzano from Casa Marcial in Asturias as well as by Jill Norman in London are always close by.

I have been collecting cookbooks now for over 25 years.

The ingredients Maria always has to hand

Nunez De Prado Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 500ml

La Chinata Sweet Smoked Paprika, 70g

Calasparra Paella Rice DOP, 1kg

Dios Baco El Cocinero Sherry Vinegar, 750ml



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