Ruben Rivero, founder
Ruben is a native from Seville (Spain) who arrived to Durham (Durham University) in the fall of 2009 to do a Masters in business administration (MBA), and to become the Head Men’s tennis coach of the university. After completing a successful experience in sports and academically, he decided to settle in Oxford where he continued coaching and slowly discovering a passion for food and cooking. His goal is to not only represent Spanish food the best possible way but also to introduce new foods and flavours to the British people.
How Picoteo started…
I have lived in Oxford since June 2011 and to my surprise I couldn’t really find, what I would consider true Spanish food in the city. With the city centre full of Oxfams and charity shops, I began to buy used cookery books and started practising for fun the recipes I learned from the books I bought, and also from the recipes my mother taught me. I cooked mainly for friends and they were kind enough to try it; give me feedback, and encourage me to follow my passion.
After some time I realised I didn’t have room at home for more cookery books so I thought that my passion for food was getting a bit silly. I tried applying to Master Chef Spain, but was unlucky with my application. So in December 2014 I went home, Seville, for Christmas, I learned from a professional how to carve ham; ham carving knives; bought paella pans and paella gas burners, and put everything in my car to drive back to Oxford with my father who helped me with everything.
In February 2015 I started making Paella at the Oxford Gloucester Green market and I was happy if I sold twenty portions. Today we have collaborators that work regularly with us and we make 600 portions weekly in Oxford and make food at more than 20 events and private functions a year.
Ruben P. Rivero-Ramos