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Spanish Chefs

Many people would agree that Spanish food is usually one to tickle the taste buds, but the famous chefs in Spain go further than that. Cuisine is an artistic creation to entice all your senses, and the Spanish are aware of that. Spain boasts a number of Michelin star restaurants, seven of which have been awarded the maximum rating, and three of which are in this year’s top ten restaurants of the world! So, let’s have a look at the chefs behind the magic…

● Ferrán Adrià was born in Catalonia, Spain on May 14th 1962.  He was head chef of what was once the “world’s best restaurant”, elBulli, on the Costa Brava, before it closed in 2011 to become elBulli foundation, a creativity center, which will be opened in 2014. Adrià was first introduced to cooking in 1980, when he worked in a hotel washing dishes and the head chef taught him traditional Spanish cuisine. He then worked as a cook in the military service when he was 19 years old and in 1984, when he was just 22 years old he became a chef at elBulli. Just a year and a half later he became the head chef. Adrià is considered one of the best chefs in the world for his unique creations, which is described by other people as “molecular gastronomy”, but he describes himself as a “de-constructivist”. He likes to take a dish, deconstruct it, and then transform it using the latest cuisine technology, to create a masterpiece of different flavors, temperatures and textures.

● Juan Mari Arzak, born on July 31st 1942, is the head chef and owner of Arzac restaurant. It is currently listed as the 8th best restaurant in the world. Located in San Sebastian, the Basque country, the restaurant uses local ingredients to create modern and unique dishes. Arzac says that he has always been interested in being a chef, and that he used to help out in his family’s restaurant when he was a child. After his time in the army, he trained as a chef and returned to his family’s restaurant. He took over the restaurant, and it was awarded 3 Michelin stars in 1989. It even received the “Universal Basque” award in 2008 for adapting the very important Basque gastronomy to modern times, and making it “one of the most innovative of the world”.  His daughter Elena is being trained by him so that she can one day take over the restaurant. It seems she is just as talented as her father according to her recent award at the “World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards” where she won the title “Veuve Clicquot World’s Best Female Chef”.

● Martin Berasategui was born in 1960 in San Sebastian. He owns Restaurante Martin Berasategui in the Basque country, which has gained three Michelin stars and was once voted the best in the world. He first learnt how to cook from his mother and aunt, and has since gone on to work in many kitchens gaining culinary experience.  He also attended some courses at the School of Modern Pastry Cooking in Issengeaux, France. Martin completed internships before setting up his own restaurant in 1993. He has won three major awards during his career; the Best of Spanish Gastronomy in 1995, Foods of Spain from the Spanish Academy of Gastronomy in 1996, and Cook of the Year from Gourmetour in 1998. He now has a whole empire with several restaurants across the world.

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● Carme Ruscalleda is a Catalan chef who owns the Sant Pau< restaurant in Sant Pol de Mar, near Barcelona, and Sant Pau in Tokyo. Her restaurants have earned three and two Michelin stars accordingly, which makes her the only 5 Michelin star female chef. She began cooking from an early age, as she grew up in a family of farmers. She studied Charcuterie techniques and business, and together with her grocery husband, she opened her restaurant San Pau in 1988. Focusing on seasonal and local products, her cuisine is typically Catalan.  She has also published several cookery books, and she is currently head chef at the Moments restaurant in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Barcelona.

● Pedro Subijana was born in San Sebastian in 1948, and studied hostelry in Zarauz and Madrid. He set up the very prestigious restaurant Akelarre, overlooking the San Sebastian Bay in 1975. He has received a number of awards throughout his career, such as “Best Chef”, “Chef of the Year” and the prize for “Food of Spain”. He also received 3 Michelin stars in 2007. He is recognized as a “Grand Chef” as his restaurant is part of the Relais & Chateaux chain.

● Last but certainly not least, we come to the current title-holders of the “Best Resaturant in the World”. The Roca brothers are three brothers who set up the three Michelin star restaurant El Celler de Can Roca next to their parent’s restaurant El Restaurante de Can Roca in 1986, but it has since moved to a new purpose built building. The brothers each have their own role in the restaurant; the oldest brother, Joan, is the Head chef, the middle brother, Josep, is in charge of the wine, and the youngest brother, Jordi, is the dessert chef. Based in Girona. Catalonia, these chefs work together to turn traditional Catalan ingredients into unique, creative, and special dishes created using the latest molecular gastronomy technology.

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