Behind every exquisite dish is an even more exquisite chef. And the magician running the kitchen at Casa Pepa in Ondara is Head Chef Aina Serra Pedros.
Aina began as the head chef at Casa Pepa in the summer after a renovation was complete to revamp the space and menu. Starting a new position as the head chef of a notable restaurant with a Michelin star already has its challenges but Aina also embarked on this journey in the middle of a pandemic. But it was her commitment and enthusiasm that allowed her to not only survive but thrive in her new position, overseeing the entire workings of the kitchen and menu. Since it has been a short time since Aina started at Casa Pepa, she is constantly pushing for perfection and establishing a strong foundation to grow from.
Chef Aina has always been attracted to cooking. As a young girl she was strongly influenced by watching her father cook and since then she has been on the path to become a chef. She studied Cooking and Gastronomy at IES Maria Ibars in Dénia. Her initial goal was to become a pastry chef but with time her passion for cooking beyond pastries developed.
It was joining the restaurant BonAmb in Javea that truly became the catalyst that led to her current position. She first began an internship at the famous restaurant, which has an impressive 2 Michelin stars and 3 Repsol Suns, under Chef Alberto Ferruz. She was an important force in the kitchen so after she completed the internship she stayed working in the kitchen under Ferruz. During this time, she worked closely with the BonAmb team to develop her skills and broaden and advance her gastronomical creativity.
Last year, BonAmb and Casa Pepa decided that combining forces would lead to two different styles of kitchen benefiting from the created synergy. After working at BonAmb for 5 years, Aina joined Casa Pepa under the direction of Head Chef Sole Romans, the daughter of Pepa Romans. Eventually Sole had to leave her position for personal reasons and Aina was named Head Chef of Casa Pepa. You could say it was a bit of a serendipitous moment, because she was 26 at the time, the same age as Alberto Ferruz when BonAmb was started.
Aina believes that creating new dishes for the Casa Pepa is more of a spontaneous flow that is nurtured and developed to get to the final result. First an idea comes then it is a group effort among the team to create and modify it until everyone is pleased. And although Aina and her team are always looking to the future and pushing boundaries with their food, her favourite dish is quite a classic in Spanish cuisine- ¨los arroces¨ or the rice. These dishes hold a special place at Casa Pepa, because they preserve the legacy of Pepa Romans, the founding chef of Casa Pepa. It is Ainas privilege to honour the traditions of the wonderful and inspiring women who started it all.
Christmas is right around the corner and Aina and her team are very focused on creating special and memorable dishes to accompany the season. Casa Pepa is an ideal place to get into the holiday spirit and enjoy a meal with friends and family.
Casa Pepa is open Wednesday to Sunday from 13:00-16:00 & 19:30-23:00. Due to the current situation, it is recommend to check their website for updated hours and to make a reservation.
Address: Partida Pamis, 7-30
03760 Ondara, Alicante
Reservations: +34 965 76 66 06