In June 2018, he opened the vegan pastry school Toni Rodríguez Academy, with the help of Sara, his wife.
He is 34 years old now, but it was at the age of 17 when he went vegetarian, and 18 when he went vegan. That was in 2003-2004, at a time when there was little information on how to develop a lifestyle without animal-based ingredients. He had no choice but to learn how to cook to be able to enjoy tasty and diverse recipes. That’s when he started loving cooking.
“I started washing dishes at a vegetarian restaurant in order to learn the profession. During all those years I was head chef in a lot of different vegetarian/vegan restaurants in Barcelona and Majorca. At the same time, I was working on my vegan pastry project that I created in 2005 called Lujuria Vegana (Vegan Lust) until 2016”.
¿How do you see bakery in the future?
“I think it will be more open to the client. There will be more options for a wider audience than there have been until a few years ago. We had never worried about vegans, vegetarians, religions, allergies, intolerants, people who don’t like dairy products or eggs, etc.”
¿What inspires you to be creative?
“We are looking for solutions for a type of elaboration that is yet to be created in a vegan way (no dairy, no eggs, no gelatine). That’s when creativity appears. We have just created a very light fruit mousse, not much fat and unsweetened, but it has a lot of fruit taste because there are no other flavours that interfere in the process”.
If you could change anything in the pastry world, what would it be?
The excessive use of dairy. For instance, adding milk, or even eggs, to churro dough.
What do you like most about your profession?
After 15 years of I+D, I think more and more every day that there are a lot of techniques yet to be created.
What is your favourite ingredient?
Tell us about a funny memory as a confectioner.
“I was showing this friend of mine how to make a vegan chocolate sponge cake at a restaurant I used to work in. I told him to melt a small bowl of chocolate in the microwave but making sure he checked it every 5 to 10 seconds. He understood 5 to 10 minutes. So he left it there for 5 minutes and went out of the kitchen. Suddenly, it starts smelling like burnt chocolate (it’s awful) and I see the whole kitchen and the dining room flooded in smoke (the microwave was in the dining room).
We had to hold back the opening of the restaurant that day because of the accident, even though a few hours later we were already laughing at it”.
How do you handle veganism when someone invites you over for dinner?
“Very well. I don’t care if they make a seitan stew, baked potatoes or a tomato salad with a great extra virgin olive oil. I only care about eating well every day in my life, but always vegan”.
If you had kids and one of them was not vegan, would you be radical about it or leave him to choose?
“I’m never having children, that I am completely sure of hahah”.
What’s it like being vegan in the bakery world?
“It’s very easy nowadays because I have a lot of profession colleagues that support and value me”.
We know how much respect you have for animals, but: if you were in a deserted island that has only one palm tree that gives only one coconut two times a year, what would you eat to survive?
“I’d eat two coconuts a year, even though I would probably die but, as the questions says, there’s only one palm tree and two coconuts per year. If I was lucky, a Spanish boat looking for the Indies would run into the island and I could eat some fresh human.