An Interview with Legendary Spanish Chef Juan Mari Arzak Reply

Juan Maria Arzak

Miami Herald.com–Juan Mari Arzak, the legendary Spanish chef who helped spark a revolution in his homeland in the 1970s — not so much modernizing, but futurizing Basque cuisine and paving the way for later Spanish visionaries such as Ferran Adriá, that mad scientist of foams, airs and deconstructions — greets you in the lobby of the Metropolitan Hotel on Collins Avenue with a kiss on each cheek. And also a warning.

It’s after noon, but he has just gotten out of bed. “I’m not very hungry yet. There was a lot of traveling yesterday,” says Arzak, who at 72, with his wispy white hair and his gentle demeanor, might seem like any grandfatherly figure on vacation and out of place among the hipsters who are here to blow it out like they’re starring in their own MTV videos. But this grandfather can teach the youngsters a thing or two about living it up.

More…

Advertisements

Spain’s Women Chefs Demand Their Place at the Top Table Reply

Spanish women chefs

The country’s giants of cuisine are celebrated across the world – and are all men. Now women want recognition of their culinary skills and achievements

The Guardian.com–From Ferran Adrià, creator of the world-renowned El Bulli, to giants of cuisine such as José Andrés, who was awarded the Spanish Order of Arts and Letters in 2010, the modern generation of Spanish chefs has acquired a formidable reputation for innovation, creativity and flair. There are around 170 Michelin-starred restaurants in Spain. In culinary terms, the country has never had it so good.

However, in one crucial respect Spanish gastronomy stands accused of culpable conservatism. Where are the celebrity female chefs? “We’re not being given a voice,” Estíbaliz Redondo, the journalist behind online gastronomy magazine Al-Salmorejo said. Frustrated by the marginal role of women in high-flying gastronomic circles, she and Córdoba chef Celia Jiménez last week held Spain’s first-ever conference on women in the industry.

More…

Can Podemos Win in Spain? Reply

Pablo Iglesias Podemos

Just a year after its founding, it’s the country’s leading party

The Nation.com–If the current poll numbers hold, Spain’s next prime minister will be Pablo Iglesias, a pony-tailed 36-year-old political scientist who cut his teeth in the Communist Youth and the anti-globalization movement—but whose party, Podemos, wants “to change the rules of the political game,” Iglesias told the journalist Jacobo Rivero. Left and right, he added, are metaphors that are no longer “useful in political terms”: “the fundamental divide now [is] between oligarchy and democracy, between a social majority and a privileged minority.” Or, as Podemos likes to put it, between la gente and la casta, the people and the caste.

Podemos was founded only a year ago and, in May, it stunned Spain’s political establishment by winning five seats in the European Parliament (1.25 million votes, nearly 8 percent). In many respects, the party—whose name translates as “We can”—is the Spanish sibling of Greece’s Syriza. Central to its still-evolving platform is a broad set of economic-stimulus measures that buck the European obsession with austerity as the only way out of the continent’s economic crisis. Among other things, Podemos proposes a restructuring of the national debt, a “deprivatization” of essential services such as healthcare and energy, and a form of universal basic income that would provide a road back into Spain’s anemic economy for the millions of unemployed—officially nearly 24 percent of the workforce, and as high as 54 percent among those 18 to 25.

More…

Heeren Foundation Seville: Creating Spain’s Next Flamenco Stars Reply

Heeren Foundation flamenco

Seville, Spain (CNN.com)–The air in the small basement room is thick with perspiration as seven young women stamp their feet in the same complicated rhythm again and again, still not getting it quite right. Their hard heels relentlessly strike the wooden floor, throwing up a deafening clatter as they’re pushed to perfection, or almost to the breaking point. The next room, just as sweaty, is filled with another wall of sound, this one created by a platoon of guitarists. Their synchronized strumming intensifies as numbed fingers fly over frets and strings, struggling to match a tempo that keeps getting faster and faster.

And at the end of the corridor, in another smaller room, seated around a twirling dancer, a group claps its hands in time to a mysterious beat. Their formidable instructor regularly halts the class to chide her pupils over seemingly minor imperfections. These are everyday scenes at the Heeren Flamenco Foundation (Avenida de Jerez, 2, Seville, Spain; +34 954 21 70 58), a cheerful blue-walled institution currently housed in the shadow of a soccer stadium on the southern fringes of the Spanish city of Seville. Heeren specializes in schooling singers, guitarists and dancers in the technical skills needed to perform the art that has come to symbolize Seville and the surrounding region of Andalusia. It’s no shock to find that it takes hard work to reach the high standards expected by flamenco audiences in Spain and around the world. What is a surprise though is the number of non-Spanish students hoping to reach this level.

More…

Rick Stein’s Food Paradise Spain 1/4 Reply

Rick Stein Spain

British chef, restaurant owner and culinary media star presents the best series we have seen on authentic Spanish food. It might have been called “Spanish food without liquid nitrogen.” It’s four insightful and delightful hour-long chapters, so you’d be advised to mix yourself a drink, put your feet up and enjoy it to the full. Here’s the first one:

Spain’s Podemos Party Recruits Falciani, Source of HSBC Leaks, to Advise It Reply

Falciani_to_Podemos

Reuters.com–Feb 9 (Reuters) – Herve Falciani, the former HSBC employee who supplied information on the bank’s clients and their tax situation, will help upstart Spanish political party Podemos (We Can) with its election programme, party officials said on Monday. HSBC client data obtained by Falciani is at the centre of a storm over the British bank. HSBC has admitted failings by its Swiss private bank, after media reports that it helped wealthy customers dodge taxes and conceal millions of dollars of assets.

Falciani — who used to work in IT at the Swiss subsidiary and who has described himself as a whistleblower trying to help governments track down tax evaders — will produce a tax fraud report for the Spanish party, one of its officials, Luis Alegre, told a news conference in Madrid. “Many thanks to Falciani for offering to collaborate with Podemos’ programme,” Podemos’ 36-year-old leader Pablo Iglesias said on Twitter. “He will be an invaluable help.”Anti-establishment Podemos, which is barely a year old, has risen rapidly in opinion polls, some of which show it would win a general election due later this year, ending decades of a two-party system in Spain.

More…

Queen Letizia Looks Polished in a Plum Suit Reply

Queen Leticia Spain

  • The royal, 42, matched her lipstick and earrings to her deep-plum-coloured suit
  • She and Felipe attended Gold Medal of Merit in Fine Arts Ceremony
  • Presented awards at El Pardo Palace in Madrid, Spain

She’s become a global style icon known for her polished looks and Queen Letizia of Spain’s appearance today was no different. Looking composed in a plum-coloured suit, the Spanish monarch joined her husband at the ceremony of the Gold Medal of Merit in Fine Arts Ceremony at El Pardo Palace in Madrid, Spain. The 42-year-old, who had clearly carefully co-ordinated her outfit, matched her lipstick and accessories to her clothes.

Despite cramming in several royal duties over the past few weeks – as well as helping her husband celebrate his birthday on Friday – the monarch was practically glowing as she presented awards at the event.  The couple beamed and applauded as they handed out awards to creatives and proved they’re still very much in love as they gazed longingly into each other’s eyes. The couple are barely seen apart. At the end of last week, the couple visited the FITUR International Tourism Fair in Madrid when a well-wisher in a grey robe approached, brandishing a map.

More…

Spanish Photographer Alberto García Alix: Front View, Boxer’s View Reply

Alberto Garcia Alix

Alberto Garcia Alix.com–Each boxing match is a story: a drama without words. Alberto García-Alix´s photographs are also condensed stories, silent but eloquent stories. These are images imbued with a lyricism and stripped of artifice, poetry that always finds a place to settle within the framework: the tension in the foreshortening of a face, the tip of a shoe, a skewered vagina, the body of a bird, fuzzy profiles of a building … Direct poetry that explodes before our eyes with the radiance of a whiplash. A vocational fighter, when García Alix concludes one of his joyful battles with images, there is only one winner standing on the canvas: his glance. A frontal view. A look of fighter. Pure epic.

García-Alix´s technique has evolved toward a meticulous use of black and white. His visual speech is composed in accordance with the maps that his life’s itinerary has sketched out, maps onto which the photographer sketches his mysterious, emotional and compelling artistic cartography.  A broad map on which objects and landscapes appear, photographs in which Alberto García-Alix captures the scenes of his own biography: houses, streets, roads and trails open up to infinity. Walls, facades and windows bounded by the camera lens. Open spaces on which his gaze jumps around and becomes introspective until enclosing itself in the four walls of a bare room.

More…

Elias Castillo: Junipero Serra Sainthood Belies Cruel History Reply

Fray Junipero Serra

MercuryNews.com–Pope Francis has announced that he will canonize Franciscan Friar Junipero Serra when he visits the United States in late summer. How does that reconcile with a papal decision made 15 years ago when Pope John Paul II apologized for 2,000 years of violence by the Roman Catholic Church against indigenous peoples, Jews, heretics, women and gypsies? In the case of California’s missions, the coastal Indians paid a high price for their interaction with the church. Serra, who arrived in 1769, created a harsh and unforgiving regimen that would ultimately claim the lives of 62,000 Indians and devastate their civilization, including the extinction of a number of small tribes.

I have spent the past seven years researching life at the missions through historical documents at Santa Barbara Mission Historical Archives, Mexico’s National Archives in Mexico City and numerous university libraries. I have studied images of documents written in Serra’s hand and little-known letters and reports from Serra and other Franciscans, documents from Spanish governors and military leaders, eyewitness accounts from travelers as well as academic research. The truth is painful and not widely understood.

More…

#FreeSpeechStories: The limits of Spanish humour Reply

Facu Diaz Spain

BBC Trending tells the story of a Spanish political satirist who some say crossed the country’s red lines – and who even ended up summoned to a criminal court because of a sketch.

BBC.com, Reporting: Anne-Marie Tomchak, Video journalists: Alvaro A. Ricciardelli and Gabriela Torres–Last week, at the same time as millions rallied online in support of pointed French satire using #JeSuisCharlie, south of the border in Spain #YoconFacu (I am with Facu) was trending last week in support of the satirist Facu Diaz. He has been accused of mocking victims of terrorism in an online video sketch, which uses the iconography of the Basque armed organisation ETA.

More…