Ketty Fresneda: Being a Cuban in MasterChef Spain


OnCuba recently featured Ketty Fresneda, a future chef based in Pontevedra, Galicia. She attended MasterChef 6 Spain, and won second place. She hopes to open her own restaurant, after attending the Basque Culinary Center.

On the night July 9 some 3 million persons were watching for the broadcast of MasterChef 6 Spain, the toughest and most tear-jerking contest, according to the Spanish press comments. The emotions overflowed on the dish, a rather neck-to-neck duel to get the title. Cuban Ketty Fresneda came in a second place that tasted gloriously for her after 13 weeks of a difficult competition. “I’m super happy. Of course I would have loved first place, but I think the competition was fair.”

In the last culinary match, Ketty delighted with a seafood salad with a coconut cupula, a monkfish in its juice and, as desert, a sponge cake with a “Cuba libre” flavor. [. . .]

In October, the Cuban, who lives in Pontevedra, Galicia, will be able to attend the Basque Culinary Center, one of the world’s most important cooking schools, and, from there on, she will start materializing her dream of opening her own restaurant.

Did you have some difficulty because you were Cuban? Did you feel any disinclination toward you during the competition?

Actually, I did feel a bit of prejudices at the beginning. They saw me as extravagant, a pretty face and they thought that I was there to show off. But they were wrong. I’ve been working in Spain for seven years, helping my guy in his kitchen, not going around looking pretty, but rather in a kitchen taking out dishes. I didn’t go to MasterChef to sell my face, I’m a working girl. We Cubans are used to that. The good part is that little by little I started demonstrating that I was “dangerous,” not because of my appearance but rather because I like to be in the kitchen and I feel comfortable in the kitchen.

During the program there were times when they pointed you out for your strong, extroverted character. Is that a trait of your Cubanness?

It’s a combination of everything. I have a strong character. I’m a person who says what she thinks. I don’t run around the bush, and of course a have frequent run-ins and that created problems for me. Not everyone wants to hear the truth. Then it’s a mixture of my character and my Cuban origin. And the experience of arriving in Spain when I was very young, at 23. I faced the bad reputation that some Cuban women usually have here. I had to use that character to put a stop to some people.

And how did that character treat you in the contest?

In the contest I found wonderful people. They are the friends that approached me, that took care of me, who were interested in me because of what I am not because of how I look. They respected my culture, they respected my Cubanness. They played music at home so I would dance and to make me happy. We are real friends. [. . .]

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