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Spain on Top: World’s Best Chefs

This will be the first article in a series about how great Spain is! We know we’re biased, but it’s actually true! There are tons of awards, best this and thats, incredible inventions, delicious products, and more, that have been awarded to or come from Spain, but which have, one way or another, been credited to other countries. Why does this happen? Well, that’s a good question, and we’ve decided it’s time to set the record straight. It’s time to put Spain back on the radar, to get Spain back on top when that’s where its rightful place lies.

To start we thought we’d go right to the belly of the beast. Spain’s food culture and chefs. Did you know that some of the best chefs in the world have come out of Spain (and not just France)?

Ferran Adrià

elBulli restaurant

El Bulli by Charles Haynes

A good example is Ferran Adrià. He has been recognized as one of the best chefs in the world for years on end and has gained worldwide recognition for his “deconstructivist” cooking style; that is, he reworks old classics in completely new, shocking and thrilling ways. Many recognize him for molecular gastronomy alongside the likes of Heston Blumenthal, the famous British chef, and for the culinary foams he makes out of just about anything. He has created quite a bit of controversy for using imaginative ingredients in his cooking and some chemical agents to aid in the gelling, coloring, crackling, foaming, emulsifying, etc. of food, but the overall response has been more than positive. The famous elBulli, run by Adrià from 1987 to 2011, won huge recognition in 2002 (although it already had been granted three Michelin stars) and has since been turned into a creativity center for elite chefs and culinary professionals.

The Roca Brothers

Spanish chef Joan Roca

Spanish chef Joan Roca of El Celler de Can Roca

The Roca brothers and their restaurant El Celler de Can Roca, not too far from Barcelona, is the current winner of the world’s best restaurant for 2015 (2016’s list is not out yet) awarded by Restaurant magazine. That makes three, not just one, Spanish chefs (well actually the trio of brothers includes chef: Joan, sommelier: Josep and pastry chef: Jordi) the current best in the world. The restaurant features new twists on classic Catalonia dishes and mixes in new ideas that bring the food to life and the restaurant to the top of the tops lists year after year. Modern thinking like a gastro-botanical research project that looks into incorporating the most rare, wild plant species into the restaurant’s cuisine brings the brothers into the spotlight and makes the restaurant shine.

Andoni Luis Aduriz

Spanish restaurant Mugaritz

Grilled cabbage marrows from Mugaritz

Although it comes in number six on the list of best restaurants in the world, Mugaritz, just outside of San Sebastian, is worth a mention. The restaurant’s owner and head chef Andoni Luis Aduriz was third best chef in the world in 2012; but even though he’s not in position número uno, he keeps popping up on best lists. His inventive cooking has its roots in elBulli where he learned the tricks of the trade, but he definitely has a flare all his own mixing trickery into his complete sensory experience with dishes like edible stones (hot mashed potatoes hidden as completely believable small stones with a hard outer crunch and steamy insides), edible cutlery, edible centerpieces, and whole eggs that get smashed on your plate and turn out to be ice cream (la yema helada y las flores blancas – or “broken egg, frozen yolk and white flowers”). At the famous Mugaritz there is no set menu, there is a complete R&D department and diners are led into an experience that mixes art, science, cuisine and creativity.

And the list of greats in the Spanish kitchen goes on and on with names like Juan Mari Arzak (Arzak, San Sebastian), David Muñoz (DiverXO, Madrid), Albert Adrià (Ticket, Barcelona), Martín Berasategui (Guipuzkoa), and so many more. Of course there are great chefs around the world but as you can see, Spain’s on top in so many cases and has been for so many years. Did we surprise you? We hope so! It’s time to get excited to come to Spain! Why? Because Spain’s the best!

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