It’s always been all about food in Spain. Whether it be home-cooked hearty stews or trendy, contemporary takes on tapas, Spaniards love to eat and Spain is a foodie destination right up there with other European countries, thanks to up-and-coming chefs. Here’s who you should be on the look out for in 2017.
Dani García is a chef hailing from Southern Spain. He’s had a huge impact on Iberian cuisine, notable for his experimentation with submerging fish in olive oil at 170 Celsius. This creates a crispy skin while slowly steam cooking the inside of the fish. His culinary discoveries are all based on the fact that traditional Andalusian recipes hold serious potential, renewing and adding to the typical dishes. You can sample his culinary delights at one of his three restaurants, two of which are in Marbella and the other in Madrid.
A three Michelin-star chef, David Muñoz rejects the traditional chef image of a plump, middle-aged man in a white hat and apron. Instead, Muñoz and his mohawk and piercings bring a whole new look to high-end cuisine. His famous Madrid restaurant DiverXO, which has Spanish-Asian fusion dishes, is so successful he opened a low-cost, market-stall version of the fancy eatery called StreetXO. Here you can find dishes similar to his higher-end spot, but dinner will cost you 30 euros instead of 250. StreetXO enjoyed so much success that Muñoz opened another one in London in late 2016 and all eyes are on him to see what’s coming next.
After working at several famous restaurants in Spain such as Tragabuches, El Bohío, Pepe Viera en Sanxenxo (all Michelin-starred), Javi Estévez competed on Top Chef Spain, where he was one of the finalists. After winning numerous other awards, Estévez started his own restaurant La Tasquería in Madrid, which is a highly-rated spot with Spanish contemporary cuisine.
After winning Spain’s first edition of Top Chef a few years back, Rodrigo became one of the biggest female chef names in Spain. Her first restaurant, La Salita in Valencia, was so succesful that she opened her second restaurant, Nomada in the fall of 2016, which is also seeing great success. Our fingers are crossed that Rodrigo continues to spread her restaurants through the rest of Spain. And she isn’t holding her culinary knowledge exclusively to herself – instead, she focuses on using her restaurants to host cooking events and classes, cocktail workshops and even cooking activities for children.
Carlos del Portillo
After stints at the Ritz-Carlton restaurant and Madrid’s high-end spots Lúculo, Velazquez 128 and Casino, as well as training at restaurants in France, Portillo decided to open his own restaurant, La Bistronomika in the funky Huertas neighborhood. His small bistro, which seats just 25, is focused almost entirely on seafood. He imports seafood from all over Spain, spots like Cádiz, Asturias, Galicia and even the Canary Islands.
A former businessman-turned-chef, Fernando Ruiz left his lucrative career to follow his passion and start his own restaurant. After training at Le Cordon Bleu, Ruiz recently opened his restaurant, PAIPÁI , which has seen enormous success in the past few months. The secret to Ruiz’s delicious creations are fusing international flavors, but never abandoning traditional Spanish dishes. In fact, one of the best things on his menu is actually a tribute to his beloved grandmother, the Patatas Yaya Marcela.