An Interview with Legendary Spanish Chef Juan Mari Arzak Reply

Juan Maria Arzak

Miami–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.



Zahara de los Atunes: Sun, Sea and Seafood in Southern Spain Reply

Zahara los Atunes

In south-west Spain, Kevin Gould celebrates laid-back beach life, plus meat and fish delicacies, in the foodie hangout of Zahara de los Atunes

The–She is Sahara of the Tuna, and you come for her deserted beaches and crowded fish restaurants, and for her beach shack chiringuitos in which to boogie the hot night away. Here in Cadiz province, Zahara de los Atunes lies between Cape Trafalgar and Spain’s southernmost nipple at Tarifa, 40 minutes to the south. Where Tarifa is bliss for spliffed-up surfers and world-weary dreadlocked hippies, Zahara is more innocent, a let-it-all-hang-out family destination. It is also one that has carved a part in the heart of the Spanish food lover with its devotion to the red tuna (Atlantic bluefin tuna, famed for its rosy flesh) and the red-skinned Retinto cow.

In this land that so honours the pig, Zahara’s red tuna is granted the title “the ibérico of the sea”. As ever, Spain can leave the dedicated vegetarian feeling hungry – even the plainest of mixed salads here will include fat chunks of tuna, “for flavour!” we were told. Your pomaded open-shirted playa type tends to prefer Atlanterra, a slick purpose-built beach resort two kilometres south of town, but Zahara itself is Spain’s far south at her authentic, relaxed best.


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–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.


Jerez: What to See, Plus the Best Music, Hotels, Restaurants and Tapas Bars Reply

Jerez Flamenco Festival–Spain’s gastronomic maridaje – the marriage of food and wine – is a definite threesome in Jerez de la Frontera, where all life is fuelled by sherry and tapas, but marches to a flamenco beat. The annual flamenco festival is its peak – not only for larger ticketed events, but also for free performances in thepeñas (social clubs), tabancos (old-style bars), and late at night in the plazas. In fact, all the city’s many festivals and ferias are accompanied by a flurry of flamenco activity – it’s just that, rather frustratingly, it’s not easy to sweep in and locate it.

Several of the tabancos actually have regular, scheduled events (and flyers for one-offs elsewhere). Best-known, and popular with locals and tourists, is Tabanco el Pasaje (C/Santa María 8) where guitarist and singer face the cramped bustle from Thursdays to Sundays. Another good option is Tabanco el Guitarrón de San Pedro (C/Bizcocheros 16) with performances on Saturday afternoons, participation flamenco on Sunday nights and, amazingly given the tight space, a cadre (guitars, singing and dancing) on Thursday nights.


Vitoria, Spain: Haute Cuisine in Miniature Reply

pintxo Vitoria Spain

Emma Anderson writes for–Sitting in Zaldiaran, a Michelin-starred restaurant in Vitoria-Gasteiz, the owner, Gonzalo Antón, is talking about a “crisis” in the Spanish restaurant scene. “Everything has changed. These days it’s trendy to go out and have five different pintxos with two types of wine, so people don’t come to this type of restaurant as much,” he says. “Look at [chef] Martin Berasategui – he has seven Michelin stars, but if you go to his restaurants, you’ll still find a seat.” Antón may be right – and certainly the days of booking a year in advance for restaurants like El Bulli are gone – but it looks like the city of Vitoria-Gasteiz will roll with the punches. The capital of the southern Basque region of Alava has long been in the shadows of showier San Sebastian and Bilbao, but it’s quietly been building up its credentials as a destination in its own right.

Food has played a major part in that. This year it steps into the limelight as Spain’s Gastronomy Capital (a national award judged by culinary leaders), and it’s a role it wears rather well. Vitoria (as it is usually abbreviated) spirals out from its old quarters – known as the Medieval Almond – which sit prettily on a hill.


Rick Stein’s Food Paradise Spain 2/4 Reply

Rick Stein Spain

British chef, restauranteur and culinary correspondent extraordinaire, Rick Stein, is back with more research into Spanish cuisine and customs. Stein’s appeal in his Spanish work–and everywhere else he visits–is that his programs are based on what real local people eat, which is usually the best that a country has to offer. This is an hour long video, so turn off the tele, put the image on full screen and learn to travel Spain creatively and to cook salt cod the way the Spanish do it.

Chef Jeffrey Weiss Wins Gourmand Award for Super-Meaty Book Reply

Charcuteria Chef Weiss

Monterrey County–So Chef Jeffrey Weiss of jeninni kitchen + wine bar, who I recently tagged as one of my two my exciting chefs of the year gone by and also cooked up a doozie of a dinner at the James Beard House, just earned a whopper of an honor. His new book Charcutería: The Soul of Spain won the 2014 Gourmand World Cookbook Award as Best Foreign-International Cuisine Book produced in the United States.

Each country-category winner competes against other global competitors in the same category for the Best of the World recognition. The international competition will announce its global winners this June. Now, I don’t want to spoil the party, but it’s not actually a book. It’s a big, meaty, beautifully-illustrated, well-written, 460-page love note.


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:

Madrid Fusión Shines Light on Spanish Olive Oil Reply

Madrid Fusion 2015

Olive Oil, Madrid Fusión 2015–Spain’s prestigious culinary event, conducted three days of creative showcases, culinary demonstrations and presentations in Madrid recently. From center stage presentations by world-class chefs and educational classroom tastings to a multitude of varietals on display from around the country and a juried cooking competition, the show demonstrated that extra virgin olive oils from Spain continue to gain greater appreciation among those most familiar with the ingredient.

On the conference’s first day, extra virgin olive oil was center stage with chef María José San Román’s presentation “Un Aceite Para Cada Plato” (An Oil for Every Dish). While the chef’s presentation was the only olive-oil centric demonstration, many other chefs showcased the value of olive oil in their creations throughout the 3-day event. Chef Dani Garcia wowed the audience with his presentation Texturas Helada, featuring olive oil-based savory ice cream creations with truffle and Michelin 3-star chef Pedro Subijana demonstrated liberal use of extra virgin olive oil in his Bekarki menu from Akelare.


Abadia Retuerta LeDomaine Reopens March 2015 Reply

Abadia la Retuerta

With impressive momentum of first Michelin Star and new Spa and guest rooms coming July.

Travel Daily, SARDON DE DUERO, SPAIN – Abadia Retuerta LeDomaine, the newly restored, historic hotel located in a 12th century abbey surrounded by vineyards in Spain’s Duero winegrowing region, will reopen March 2nd with impressive momentum for a successful 2015 and beyond – driven by earning its first Michelin Star, the addition of a world-class spa and eight exquisite new guest rooms slated to open in July, and crafting specialty guest experiences such as mushroom foraging on the hotel’s medieval estate.

“Our vision for LeDomaine from the beginning has been to create a hotel that stands apart for its combination of historic atmosphere and precedent-setting guest facilities and experiences, and all of the components of this extraordinary property are coming together,” said Andres Araya, Managing Director. LeDomaine has announced that when it re-opens in March, after closing for three months for the holidays and to accelerate construction of the spa and guest rooms, it will offer a starting room rate in 2015 of $415 as well as a variety of packages including spa, gourmet, romance and special guest experience programs that take advantage of the diversity of the local terrain. On the ‘Mycological Experience,’ guests hunt for wild mushrooms in local forests and dine on gourmet dishes prepared with the freshly picked fungi.