Originally from the Dominican Republic, Lourdes Fernández Bencosme has made Madrid her home for the last nineteen years. She is very passionate about the city and Spain in general. She holds a BA in History from the Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo after which she moved to Chicago to pursue her graduate work. She holds a MA degree in Hispanic Studies from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a PhD in Romance Languages & Literatures from the University of Chicago. She has taught courses at the University of Illinois, The University of Chicago, Colgate University, Universidad Autónoma de México, Syracuse University Madrid, Suffolk University Boston and is currently part of the faculty at Suffolk University Madrid Campus where she teaches a course entitled Madrid Cosmopolitan City among others. Her main interests are visual culture, popular music, urban life and their literary representations in Hispanic literature. Lourdes lives with her husband, her two daughters and two cats in the historic center of Madrid.
Héctor was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He obtained a B.A. in Architecture and Humanities and an M.S. in Historic Preservation from Columbia University, New York City, and in 1996 he studied at Rome’s International Centre for the Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Property. He returned to Puerto Rico to become Executive Director of Heritage Programs at the Institute of Culture, and then worked independently on research projects for historical and archaeological sites in the Caribbean. In 2003 he moved to Madrid, where he is currently working on his PhD thesis in Colonial Latin American History. Héctor has taught undergraduate courses in the History and Theory of Historic Preservation, Spanish and Latin American History, and Spanish Culture and Civilization at universities in Puerto Rico and Spain. He has a particular passion for Spanish cities and fortifications of the Middle and Early Modern ages. Héctor speaks Spanish and English fluently, and has an intermediate level of Italian.
Helena Vaello's passion for food has determined her career. After finishing her Audiovisual Communication studies at the age of 23, she changed course and started a successful catering business that was in operation for 5 years. Then, whilst pursuing a postgraduate course on gastronomic journalism, she began working as a freelance restaurant consultant and cooking instructor. Helena has written about food for several media outlets, including the Guía Repsol, covering a wide range of national events related to haute cuisine, food trips, conventions, and different presentation and specialized courses. She currently works on communication and PR for Arturo Sánchez, a brand of jamón Ibérico.