Meet Paella Mate
IGNACIO HERNANDEZ CRUANES (Iggy) Born in 1983 in Gandía, a Mediterranean city on the Valencian Levante coast, an area of rice tradition and a town where Fideua is also born. Ignacio was always interested in Mediterranean and Spanish gastronomy in general, surprised by its great variety of products and flavors, due to the historical and cultural influences to which Spain has been subjected throughout the years.
In Spain he was always related to cooking, but he never dedicated himself to it. It wasn’t until his arrival in Australia in 2012 that he began to develop that interest professionally. Ignacio arrived in Melbourne where he trained and worked in up to 5 Spanish restaurants over a period of 7 years. He was lucky to work with good professionals from whom he learned different ways of preparing typical dishes of our gastronomy and different ways of treating the product. But coming from the Valencia area, it was inevitable that he ends up being the “rice chef” in the kitchen.
In 2015 Ignacio set up Paella Mate, a catering and training company. He felt that he had an obligation with the dish of his land, and he had to “educate” the Australian customer by letting him know what the varieties, flavours and authenticity of such a dish so abused worldwide.
With Paella Mate he makes caterings with tapas of all kinds, desserts and paellas. But without a doubt what he enjoys the most, is his Valencian paella training classes. These are classes in which the client learns step by step about how to make a good Valencian paella, in addition of learning about Spanish and more specifically Valencian history and gastronomy.
In 2018 Ignacio participated in the Valencian International Paella Contest with Paella Mate, were he became 2nd of Oceania and 7th in the world. That same year he received the Wikipaella Award recognizing Paella Mate, as the only company in Oceania that produces paellas in an authentic and traditional way. To this day he is a proud Valencian chef who wants to share knowledge and flavours of his land in the other part of the world.