Portrait Photography La Rioja, Spain - Marisa Sánchez of Hotel Echaurren Ezcaray

 14/11/12 Sesión de fotos con Marisa Sánchez en Hotel Echaurren, Ezcaray, La Rioja, España. Foto por James Sturcke Fotografía | www.sturcke.org

Portrait Photography La Rioja, Spain

Walking into Marisa Sanchez's house is like going into a museum. On the walls are portrait paintings and countless family photos revealing key events in the life of the grand lady of the Echaurren restaurant.

At 79, Marisa is meant to be taking it easy though it doesn’t appear to come naturally to her. Among the books piled beside an overflowing bookcase is Retirement for Dummies which, if it was a gift intended as a hint, clearly hasn’t worked. The first thing she says when we meet is that she wants us to try her new recipe for chickpeas & mushrooms, cooked with white wine and sherry.

Fine Rioja cooking

I’m there with the journalist Pablo García Mancha who’s to interview her for a piece published in last Saturday’s Diario La Rioja. For someone used to being photographed and filmed - she appeared last year on the BBC series Rick Stein’s Spain - she’s surprisingly nervous. While Pablo and Marisa talk, I look for the elements that define and drive Marisa and show her continued vitality as she approaches her 80th birthday.