Profiles in Excellence

by Claire Williamson
Photos: Fair use


Starting from scratch during the crisis has been good


Enrique Fernandez, the founder of the online site Cocinista, believes in creating a business from passion. After working as an executive with Microsoft for 22 years, he was offered a position in the US but turned it down for personal reasons and decided that this was the time to follow his dreams. The combination of a passion for cooking that he has had all his life and great travel experiences during his time with Microsoft has lead to the creation of this new business venture.

The passionate "cocinista"

The passionate “cocinista”

Cocinista aims to bring customers ingredients and cooking utensils that they can’t find in supermarkets. The business is run entirely online and took 9 months to create. Fernandez took advantage of his vast technical knowledge from his time at Microsoft to create a comprehensive and smoothly running machine. The business is 100% his venture, and he receives support from two trusted employees. business can be separated into four key elements. First, the “multicultural element,” which brings customers products from Asia, North and South America, North Africa, and exotic European locales. Next, the phenomenon of Molecular Gastronomy has provided Cocinista with the opportunity to create a fast-growing new portion of the business by providing natural ingredients for these innovative recipes that are so popular in Spain today. The “Basic Recipes” element of the business tries to bring passionate cooks back to their roots by offering training sessions and kits for individuals to make their own beer, cheese, bread, and sausages, among other products, in the home. Finally, the Cocinista Encyclopedia is a resource that helps customers understand and make use of the exotic and unique ingredients that they are purchasing.

Cocina Diferente

Fernandez claims that starting from scratch during the crisis has been good, because it has been easier to generate interest since European manufacturers are more open to new ideas and there are a lot of products available for purchase. The market is still slow, of course, but then Fernandez is in business for the long haul.



Claire, an Iñigo Merit scholar who’s consistently on the Dean’s List, is currently studying at the Madrid campus of Saint Louis University. She’s a founding member of the Human Rights Club of her school.