Interviewed June 2013
Q How long have you been cooking professionally?
A. I have been cooking for 20 years. I started working in a kitchen with 15. So I´m young but I´ve already been working as a cook for a quite long time.
Q. Where did you train to cook?
A. I studied at the Culinary School of Leioa in Biscay, which it accompanied with different periods in restaurants where I studied and absorbed the traditional Basque cuisine. Because of what I learned, I set out for the most prestigious restaurants and little by little I consolidated my own personality and style.
Q. How would you describe your style of cooking?
A. I make "identity cuisine", linked to territory and based on the roots, being evolutive and universal. To define my cuisine, I should add more things, because my cuisine is the accumulation of my life and learning; would have to explain where I was born, what is my environment, what are the customs of my family, how I've grown, my travels, my closest circle, even my phobias and my obsessions. Because what I am, it's my cuisine. In short, my cuisine is my trademark.
My cuisine, is based on the produce of the traditional Basque recipe book. It´s based on basque products, but doesn´t exclude other products. I add a pinch of modernity to the local cuisine through universal touches. I try that the balance point is perfect between vanguard and roots of tradition. I try to provoke intense emotions, visual flavors, transgressor flavors, but always from a Basque point of view. My signature creations, inspired by an environment in continual evolution, engrave the tasteful pleasure into the identity pleasure.
Q. Is there a secret for a successful restaurant?
A. to work very very hard and with enthusiasm, and over all that clients return
Q. Do you have a "signature dish" or favourite dish you enjoy cooking?
A. I enjoy cooking all dishes, it would not be fair to have to choose one because I enjoy cooking all
Q. Do you have a favourite ingredient?
A. Each season has its own products or ingredients, that I´m waiting for to cook them, but certainly most important value and which remains during all seasons, is the human value
Q. Which restaurant do you most enjoy eating at on your night off?
A. I could say that there are different offers and all satisfy me. Homemade food, go for pintxos, traditional restaurants, asadores, vanguard restaurants... I like them all. Coincidentally, our territory has ample supply
Q. What is your most interesting or fun experience from your time in restaurants?
A. A very interesting experience in a restaurant was in Kikunioi by chef Murata, for example. I loved their way of working an philosophy. Where nature prevails over ideas of chef.
Q. What would be your "last request" dish?
A. In Mexico, an authentic mexican mole.
Q. Is there another chef that you most admire?
A. I admire a lot, about all, the personality and human value that people like Pascal Barbot have
Q. Any advice you would give to someone wanting to become a chef?
A. work hard, a lot of enthusiasm, perseverance, love the territory, and understand that the food will speak about the chef, about who is, about his territory ...
Q. Any final thoughts you'd like to share e.g. new developments at the restaurant?
A. Yesterday doesn´t count today. Tomorrow has to be better than today.