My story

2006. It was time to take the graduation photos for the end of the University.

All the schoolmates ans I, we climbed to the top floor of one of the towers of the Faculty of Biology, where the photographer was waiting for us to immortalize us in images that would later remind us of that moment every time we saw them. How to imagine that photo was going to be forever, the memory of such a big change in my life! stopped in the bathroom to vomit without being clear about the reason, because nothing made me feel bad or nervous . Miguel was already with me, inside me, without my knowing.

(…) a mother who turned her child’s health into professional work.

Photo 1. Gabriela in the laboratory of the research group BioLab (IUBO-AG, Universidad de La Laguna)

The pregnancy was initially a clear conflict for a university student who paid for her studies working weekend nights serving drinks at bars near the campus. But he was never rejected or questioned as desired or welcome. During my adolescence I took care of my brothers as a second mother. I learned everything that was to be done with a baby and as my mother reminded me with her wonderful example, she became perfectly compatible with the development of academic and personal leisure tasks. My five brothers and I have grown up with parents who have educated us in effort, personal satisfaction and shared tasks, so that my willpower is due to them. I must admit that this training was decisive in what I expected.

Photo 2. My gorgeous family

Little Mom’s special source of income lasted, since she directly compromised the health of the “little one”. The father assumed much of the economic effort, and with family help, I could continue studying and maintaining a healthy routine In addition to academically satisfactory. It might seem difficult, but Staying focused on studies helped me a lot. I even enjoyed. Power studying without having to go to work at night left me a head clear and more receptive.

The Miguel’s birth was longed for and celebrated by the whole family that packed the hospital waiting room. It took us a lot of time, pain and effort to help you come to the world, but after more than 20 hours, a day like today, February 13, each and every one of us there, we were able to celebrate their arrival. Little did we know then what was still ahead of us, and less evil. That day we simply enjoy and breathe relieved to hold you in arms and see their eyes alive and smiling.

I know that Miguel went hungry, I suffered every minute that I denied him the food whose food security was not at the required height. But I shared this with him and I also went hungry.

(…) I invented safety protocols in food allergy prevention, for him at home, which today I apply to restaurants for their effectiveness.

The first Miguel’s 4 years of life have been a real challenge of patience, tenacity and hope. A routine activity and as necessary as “eating”, which of beforehand it would be interpreted as a right and even a pleasure, for him it became a survival test, so decisive for your well-being that in the cases of ambiguity about the composition / origin of food, the only viable option was NOT TO EAT.

I know that Miguel went hungry, I suffered every minute that I denied him food whose food security was not at the required height. But I shared this with him and I also went hungry. What played me was that horrible hospital emergency visit after the allergic reaction, with him cyanotic (fainted and out of breath) counting the seconds out loud and begging that not suffer brain damage for the time without oxygen. I do not regret anything. Nor of the confrontations with everyone who believed that I exaggerated, that “it was not so much” and that “for a little nothing happens.” Here began my reputation as “unbearable” and yet I am proud of all this. Today Miguel can read these words here, sitting next to me.

I consciously chose to be on the part of hospitality professionals. Support them and try to be a tool in their kitchen. Give them solutions and create possibilities (…)

Of all the medical baggage and numerous emergency traumatic visits, we obtained 3 diagnoses: gluten intolerance and milk and egg allergy. Once you have clear the enemy the fight is clarified and takes a stable look that helps every day, however hard. The hardest time was undoubtedly the one in which we lived with ambiguity, without knowing what it was that caused Miguel to have very aggressive skin reactions, chronic dermatitis, gas and permanent pain, including frequent episodes of intestinal bleeding. He was only 2 years old and his life was absolutely dependent on his reactions to food. Not only those who ate, but also those with whom he came into contact, even to the residual amounts that could remain in the hands, furniture, toys or kitchen utensils. I discovered and invented safety protocols in food allergy prevention, for him at home, which today I apply to restaurants for their effectiveness.

(..) take gastronomy to a point where the consumer feels, as well as satisfied, SAFE.

I imagine that at this point in history nobody is strange and why my profession. At that time there was still no allergen regulations or training for professionals. I was still studying when I started helping the nurseries, canteens and schools that knew my experiences. It goes without saying that he was still far from the knowledge that I currently handle. Thirteen years have been given for many specialization degrees and practical application experience! But that was the “germ” of my professional life and I owe everything to my passion as a mother.

Photo 3. My best friend Sandra Rodríguez

I know that my story is shared by many families who have suffered a lot, some may not even tell their loved ones with food allergies to continue with them. It is very unfair to know that everything depends on food and who makes it. My case is the sample that with information, professional training and good support from doctors and health advisors; The lives of those affected are not at risk by feeding each day, either at home or outside the home. It is possible to know and control each food that arrives at the plate, it only takes motivation and advice.

FORMACION CHEF PROFESIONALES GABRIELA BRIEBA PLATA

Photo 4. Food safety training kitchen staff course

All this experience gradually became my professional work. After getting my degree, in the Final Master Thesis MBA, I elaborate an educational project for the school environment that I called SANPANI PROJECT, (SANidad PAra NIños: Health for Children) where I applied for the first time the magic formula for the integration of counseling and professional training, as a solution in hospitality, to the prevention and safety of allergy sufferers. From this idea a whole business activity was created thanks to which many people perform our professional activity with economic remuneration.

I consciously chose to be on the part of hospitality professionals. Support them and try to be a tool in their kitchen. Give them solutions and create possibilities in their enormous work. It is very hard, a huge responsibility, to know that you have at your table a person at risk of dying with what they eat.

I recognize that it has been hard and painful, but also rewarding and enriching (…)

Photo 5. Night Awards. gala de entrega de premios de la Revista MASMUJER

During all these years I have been complementing my knowledge with numerous degrees: Master’s degree in Biomedicine, biomedical research and scientific publications such as the study on celiac disease genetic markers, postgraduate courses in Food Safety and associated legislation at European level (with the Spanish Agency for Quality and with Bureau Veritas) and the most recent, a university degree as a judicial expert specialized in Food Security in the year 2018. I have been active in the dissemination to promote the need for awareness about Food Safety, always using the humor and dynamism that characterizes me. I have participated in television and radio, regional and national.

…) award for “Woman Entrepreneur 2016” of the MAGAZINE MASMUJER (Canary Islands) in its 1st edition of awards.

I recognize that it has been hard and painful, but also rewarding and enriching thanks to the support of my family and my soulmate Sandra. Everything I have experienced has made me what I am and would not change anything. The best of all is to have Miguel, safe and sound, by my side. Together with my husband José Manuel and little Garoé, they are my reason for being happy. With them I collected the “Entrepreneur Woman 2016” award from the MAGAZINE MASMUJER (Canary Islands) in its 1st edition of awards. It was shocking and flattering, also gratifying for a mother who turned her son’s health struggle into a professional work.

(…) make my experience accessible digitally. It is my best way to provide advice and training to hospitality professionals (…)

Currently, in this new web project: gabrielabriebaplata.es, I try to make my experience accessible digitally. It is my best way to provide advice and training to hospitality professionals who, driven by their intention and will want to expand or improve their knowledge in Food Safety. Through this platform you can access short and enjoyable training, on issues of public health, consumption and health that affect the professional; and access direct consulting with me through skype or WhatsApp.

Like personal ambition, I try to inspire other professionals to take the gastronomy to a point where the consumer feels, as well as satisfied, SAFE.

In Santa Cruz de Tenerife, February 13, 2020