Antoni Izquierdo Gourmet bears the name of its founder and was born with the aim of recovering traditional recipes investing as little time as possible.
That is why the head chef of the restaurant Mas dels Arcs and co-founder and ex-president of the Gastronomic Association “La Cuina de l’Empordanet” offers different types of stir-fries and sauces to facilitate our work and make our lives easier. All of them cooked over low heat and made with top quality natural ingredients, without colorings or preservatives.
Since 2020, Antoni Izquierdo Gourmet offers, either in its e-commerce or in person at the Mas dels Arcs restaurant, its packaged products. We can find stir-fries such as the one made with the tasty prawn from Palamós, the traditional Empordà stir-fry or the Empordà with cuttlefish ink. Or canned tomato sauce with lemon beebrush or plums in Grenache syrup from l’Empordà.
Antoni Izquierdo Gourmet’s philosophy for its products and their preparation is clear and is based on the same values that govern his restaurant. The ingredients of its preserves must be natural and local, and its preparation, simple and artisanal. Resulting in excellent preserves of great quality, such as its stir-fry based on crab and shrimp from Palamós, which has been awarded the agri-food quality seal of Girona Excel·lent 2018-19.
“I consider the world of canning to be a great business opportunity. And not because I say so, but because others who know more than I do on the subject say so. I participate in many forums in the gastronomy sector and all attendees agree that preserves and ready meals is a line of business to follow. Being closed for so long due to the pandemic, many restaurateurs and chefs have realized that we must diversify and that the market demands a different preserve, with identity, character and high quality ingredients.”Antoni Izquierdo, founder of Antoni Izquierdo Gourmet and head chef at Mas dels Arcs restaurant
Problem: the purpose of bringing the gastronomic tradition of the Costa Brava closer to kitchens
Although starting a new project always brings difficulties, for Antoni Izquierdo creating a canning business was a very natural process. His long experience as a chef made the task easier, especially with regard to the preparation of his sauce.
The biggest unknown when it came to setting up Antoni Izquierdo Gourmet was whether his preserves would have the same success as his dishes in his restaurant. The public’s response was immediate. And the fact is that the fame of a great cook and good food accompany everything that Antoni Izquierdo does. And at present, they are in a production of about 30,000 preserves a year.
Challenge: find an autoclave that allows you to optimize your production
The challenge they encountered when starting their project was to find an autoclave that would allow them to sterilize their preserves. During the first six months, in the first shipments, they counted on an external company to sterilize their stir-fries. But seeing that the demand increased, they decided to buy an autoclave and sterilize themselves at their facilities. And since then they use the autoclave practically daily and have made more than 250 batches of products.
“The importance of the autoclave is indisputable because without it it is impossible to pasteurize and/or sterilize safely and, therefore, you do not achieve the goal that current regulations demand.”Antoni Izquierdo, founder of Antoni Izquierdo Gourmet and head chef at Mas dels Arcs restaurant
Of the different challenges that Antoni Izquierdo has had to face, that of the rapid cooling system in the autoclave stands out, since it did not fully satisfy his needs. For this reason, together with the TERRA Food-Tech® technicians, they devised a specific method to avoid any internal thermal shock so that the glass containers do not break and at the same time limit the cooling process to half.
Likewise, another small adversity that Antoni Izquierdo encounters when using the TERRA Food-Tech® autoclave and that he thinks that can be improved is the location of the filters while cleaning the equipment. These require regular maintenance, but their location on the machine makes their removal difficult. For this reason, he proposes to place the filters in the front part with a kind of hatch that can be easily accessed without having to manipulate the machine.
Solution: improve the sterilization and cooling process with the TERRA Food-Tech® autoclave
“We cannot complain at all about the TERRA Food-Tech® team because they are very competent and helpful!”Antoni Izquierdo, founder of Antoni Izquierdo Gourmet and head chef at Mas dels Arcs restaurant
At the moment, as Antoni Izquierdo himself tells us, in 6 months from now Mas dels Arcs could undergo a radical change. They are considering dedicating themselves almost 100% to the world of canning. Their forecasts contemplate a considerable increase in production thanks to the negotiations that are being carried out with different distributors to be able to offer their products abroad. This will mean greater production and dedication. They will therefore expand their workshop, acquire a second autoclave and hope to be able to automate their production a little more and have a periodic maintenance service that continuously guarantees the perfect functioning of the equipment.
“I recommend TERRA Food-Tech® autoclaves because I have seen that it is a machine that is very worthwhile, for its small size it has a great capacity and is extremely practical. What’s more, I have already recommended it, specifically to an acquaintance who wants to set up a canning business.”Antoni Izquierdo, founder of Antoni Izquierdo Gourmet and head chef at Mas dels Arcs restaurant