"I owe a lot to this hospital, and so when I have the opportunity to give something back, I do it. It is nothing compared to what they have done for me." said Santiago Domínguez, owner of Restaurante Santiago, a restaurant that has run successfully in Marbella for several decades. On Wednesday 23 January, the 80-year-old restaurant owner set up his kitchen in the Costa del Sol hospital to prepare a meal for about 500 patients and staff. While it was a very different kitchen to that which he was used to, he tried to keep the menu traditional to what is served at 'Restaurante Santiago', adapting a few things to cater to everyone.
A created a healthy menu of creamed vegetables with croutons for the starter, followed by sea bass with sautéed Swiss chard, wild mushrooms and glazed beans, and a special sponge cake with cream as dessert. "It is not easy trying to make a menu that suits everyone, but I have a very good team in the kitchen. With Alejandro Sanjuán at the helm, the whole team knows what to do when we are cooking at another site." said Santiago, hours before the special menu to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the hospital was served.
Those who already know the tenacity of Santiago and his team will not be surprised to learn that they were extremely dedicated to the task at hand. "They were here all day yesterday (22 January), preparing everything, and again first thing this morning" explains the hospital's managing director, Torcuato Romero.
Santiago himself was a patient at the hospital. "I have been a patient here several times, once with cancer. I know how it feels to be a patient here. One day, Dr. Sanchez Cantos asked me to make a special menu for this anniversary, and of course I accepted. Whenever I can do something nice for others, I try to. When you get to my age, spending a few hours doing something for other people costs nothing. I was delighted with all the staff here, from the director to the nurses," he points out.
25 years of the hospital
"The meal is the finale of the 25 year anniversary celebrations of the hospital," the managing director proudly explained. "Santiago is a great professional and a marvellous person.
We wanted to organise this culinary experience for the patients and staff, catering for everyone. Santiago and his team have been here working alongside the hospital kitchen team.
For them it is also a great opportunity to have someone with so much experience in the kitchen," says Torcuato Romero. "Patients were told that they would be served a special meal, showing that the hospital is not only about providing healthcare but that it is also an integral part of the community.