I have Chef’s Legs!

IT’S looking like a whole different kind of Christmas this year. Most of us have had our businesses destroyed and over here there is little or zero government support and those that haven’t been wiped out have had to re-think and re-structure, we are all on the ropes, 2020 certainly is the annus horribilis!

Oddly though we won more awards in 2020 than ever before and last week we won the title of Best Fine Dining Restaurant in Malaga area against 10,000 others. Best International Restaurant in Spain, Best on the Costa del Sol and Best Luxury Restaurant in Marbella all in 2020 from different award bodies.

You would think that I would be elated but instead I have had to close!

Mainly because of my health but the virus has been the icing on the cake.  I have had varicose veins and heart palpitations for years, but this year my leg flared up and when I went to the doctor’s they insisted that I get it seen to because the clots were so severe and could disturb blood flow to my heart and then I would have a real problem!

So, I booked in really quickly with the Ochoa hospital in Marbella. I have never had an operation before nor had an anaesthetic so I was a bit worried. Doctor Martin the vascular doctor assured me that I was in great hands and I have to say for anyone needing a vascular surgeon this young good-looking doctor was amazing and so professional.

As I sit here writing my leg is now free of bandage and looks great except for a few bruises, it is a real transformation so quickly!

“Eat well” he said “and drink plenty of water!”  Food is my thing (he knows that) but cooking and eating well are two very different things. Chefs rarely eat anything healthy; they eat fast food on the move and usually lots of cheese and bread, hardly healthy.

Chefs put themselves out there and put their clients first. Everything we do is at the expense of our own well-being including burning ourselves on the gas and standing 15 hours a day, which is the reason I had varicose veins in the first place.

I had them for over 20 years and never bothered to get them looked at until one summers day in 2020, I got out of bed and couldn’t stand on my foot. It had flared up to more than twice the size and was bleeding.

I called Helicopteros Sanitarios as my wife Michele said … “you cannot go into work like that!”  They came immediately and they bandaged it and treated it and I went to work and still did 15 hours.

But after a few days I started to feel faint and my heart was pounding like a Formula 1 engine. That’s when I contacted Ochoa Hospital and that’s when I met Dr Martin who may very well have changed my life! After only a few days my leg feels like it has had a ton of weight removed.

As far as the Ochoa Hospital is concerned my experience was disappointing because at every appointment there was a problem at reception. They treated me more like a prisoner of war than a client or patient. Sadly, though that is very much the Spanish way and we have to put up with that if we want to live here. The southern Spanish especially don’t really get hospitality or understand customer care which is why the international businesses like ours scoop all the awards!

I was surprised to see Tesco in Fuengirola packed with Spanish people, but then again at check out the staff spoke Spanish fluently and offered a friendly customer service that you don’t get from a Spanish supermarket! Of course, there are always exceptions.

Back to food and yes. I agree with Dr Martin that I should look after my health more and so I will be eating more fish and vegetables, less saturated meat, drinking less alcohol, less coca cola, more water.

Sounds blooming dull, but I have to put my health first for a change or I am at risk. You should do the same.

Let’s make 2021 a healthier, happier and hopefully Covid free year! Thank you, Dr Martin, for saving my life and thanks also to Javier from Medifiatc who was very helpful!

Steven Saunders’s opinions are his own and are not necessarily representative of those of the publishers, advertisers or sponsors.

Aromatic Salmon en Papilotte

Aromatic Salmon en Papilotte
One of the world’s best healthy superfoods.

En papilotte is French and means in paper but we are doing it in tin foil because it is a lot easier and quicker. This way of cooking is easy and effective as the fish literally steams in all the juices in the parcel

Ingredients (serves two)

  • Tin foil
  • 2 good quality Norwegian salmon fillets with no bones or skin (approximately 150g each)
  • 1 tomato sliced so that you have 4 slices
  • 1 clove of garlic finely chopped
  • 1 spring onion finely sliced
  • 50ml of sake or dry white wine
  • A little olive oil
  • 1 lemon zested (you need to keep the zest)
  • 1 pak / bok choy or broccoli
  • Maldon salt and freshly milled black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons natural soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon of sesame oil
  • A sprinkling of toasted peanuts or cashews crushed optional
  • 1 teaspoon of chopped red chilli (seeds removed)
  • 125g of mushrooms washed and sliced
  • Fresh coriander sprigs (or parsley) to finish optional


  1. Mix the sake (or wine), chilli, soy sauce, garlic, sesame oil and the juice of 1 lemon together with a little olive oil.
  2. Make 2 x30 cm squares with the tin foil. Place the slices of tomato in the centre and top with the sliced mushrooms. Add the onion sliced.
  3. Now top this all with one salmon fillet and season it well. Repeat for the other parcel.
  4. Finally top the salmon with the lemon zest and pour the wine/ chilli mix in step 1, over the salmon fillets equally.
  5. Fold up the tin foil parcel so that the juices do not escape (see photo)
  6. Steam the parcels on a metal tray on a hot barbecue for 10 minutes. Open the bags carefully to check that the salmon is cooked. Serve with lightly fried pak choy or broccoli on the side.
  7. Finish the dish with crushed peanuts and sprigs of coriander or parsley (optional).
  8. Enjoy your meal knowing that you have just eaten one of the world’s best superfoods for health!

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The Little Geranium, Winner of Best International Restaurant Spain…2020

This week Celebrity and Master Chef Steven Saunders of the award-winning Little Geranium in La Cala cooks a healthy home meal following an operation.

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Steven Saunders

Steven Saunders FMCGB - The Little Geranium - La Cala de Mijas & Marbella