El Chotis in Ávila became the first Spanish restaurant in Puerto Rico to receive the prestigious “Restaurants From Spain” seal awarded by ICEX Spain Export and Investment and that certifies the excellence in the local’s gastronomic offerings, as well as a very high level of quality in its services.
“This is a seal that does not act as a gastronomic critic, but as an instrument of support and recognition for restaurants that can present themselves as world ambassadors of Spanish cuisine.”, he explained Maria del Rosario Paradinas Zorrilla head of the Economic and Commercial Office of Spain, which is part of the Spanish consulate in Puerto Rico. The ICEX Spain Export and Investment is part of this office.
Spain Exportation and Investments began a couple of years ago with the distinction of this seal that certifies the quality of restaurants worldwide with some countries in Asia and Europe and two years ago they began to certify restaurants in the United States. “Currently, there are 72 certified restaurants worldwide, 10 of them in the United States and in Puerto Rico the Chotis in Ávila is the first restaurant that we are going to certify, which is a gateway to new restaurants and also the honor of representing us in the Spanish gastronomic sector”, explained Paradinas Zorrilla.
Part of the requirements that a restaurant needs to have that receives the “Restaurants From Spain” seal is the fact that it faithfully represents Spain, both for the food, for the service, but also in the way in which the Iberian country is shown in the atmosphere and the interior decoration. “This is, in some way, the distinction that it is a quality Spanish brand restaurant. For this reason, I wanted to thank Mario Jiménez, owner of the Chotis in Ávila, for helping to project that positive image of Spain”he mentioned for his part Josep María Bosch Bessa, Consul General of Spain in Puerto Rico. “Gastronomy has become one of the most powerful elements that make Spain stand out from the rest of the world. For this reason, having a representative like Chotis is extremely positive”.
In order to be considered for the “Restaurants From Puerto Rico” seal, Jiménez had to go through a strict process in which he had to share information about his restaurant, in addition to filling out a detailed questionnaire. The seal requirements include a minimum percentage of Spanish recipes, a minimum percentage of wines with denominations of origin from Spain, a series of people qualified in Spanish gastronomy within the kitchen, also a communication platform and a Spanish atmosphere in the restaurant . The selection committee is made up of institutions linked to Spanish gastronomy such as the Royal Academy of Gastronomy, the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, the Sherry Regulatory Council and the REPSOL Guideamong others.
“I am very excited, super happy, and super grateful to receive this recognition, because it is a reflection that all the effort I have spent since I opened the restaurant has been worth it”, mentioned Jimenez, who is married to a Puerto Rican. “17 years ago, when I arrived in Puerto Rico, I didn’t think I was going to stay that long. When I started in the world of gastronomy here in Puerto Rico, out of necessity, because I had to work and generate money, one of the things I told my wife and my bosses at that time, It was that one day I would like to have one of the most renowned Spanish food restaurants in Puerto Rico and that dream has come true.”.
For the restaurant owner Chotis in Ávila, located at number 187 O’Neil Street in Hato Reythe key to success since he took over the reins seven years ago lies in his demands and consistency. “The key to our success is being consistent, having a work team to which you can transmit that desire to want to be the best in service and quality”, explained the Spaniard born in the city of Ávila, in the center of the country. “I am a very service-oriented person. I let my employees from the valet parking, to the servers and those in the kitchen know that they are a super important part of achieving success. Without my work team and the support of my family, it would not have been possible to reach the level we have today.”.
During the stamp delivery activity, carried out at the consular house of Spain, in San Patricio, several very important guests gathered, such as Charles Market Santiagoexecutive director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company; Joseph Santiago, president of the House of Spain and the distribution company José Santiago, Inc; and the graduate Ramon Gonzalez Simounetpresident of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Puerto Rico and vice president of the Empire Gas Group, among others.