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The protagonists of Apicius 25 will be revealed day by day. Apicius, awarded as Mejor Publicación (Best Journal) by the Spanish National Gastronomy Prize, has just been branded as the best publication in the world at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards, the Oscars of haute cuisine journalism. Apicius offers contents based in the creations of prestigious chefs and the latest techniques in the gastronomic industry. Culture and design. Apicius is the fascicle that gives proof of the novelties, curiosities and great dishes. Apicius pretends to show more than the mere didactic and formal aspects in which professionals rely on, but also those pleasurable elements that round off the rich and wide field of gastronomy. Every aspect is treated with the utmost technical and qualitative rigorousness, availed by the publishing team of Apicius, extending our experience in this field since 2003.
DABIZ MUÑOZ (STREETXO, MADRID)
‘It isn’t a restaurant and never will be,’ Dabiz repeats ad nauseam The gastronomic happening extends beyond the confines of a restaurant. It’s evident. That’s how Muñoz views it and he has encapsulated it in Streetxo. There’s the kitchen and the people. But don’t be deceived. What people are greeted with, which is in all truth the epicentre of experience, overflows with creativity. Only a mind like that of the chef’s, who has decided to tone down his image (his ‘new’ Mohican haircut reflects this), manages to create dishes that go off like bombs in the mouth.
ALAIN PASSARD (ARPÈGE, PARIS)
Alain Passard is a chef of enviable talent. He has spent decades, without ever being the first or second, but always at the apex of French cooking, among the elite. He has been given the highest ratings in Michelin, Gault & Millau, in practically every guide. He has managed to combine his natural gifts with his unyielding meticulousness at work, and has succeeded in conveying his knowledge and feelings to his disciples. In addition to concepts and triumphant dishes, his work labour included having provided France with its brightest generation of up and coming creators: Pascal Barbot ‘Astrance’, Jacques Decoret, Mauro Colagreco ‘Mirazur’, among other eminent chefs.
ANDRÉ CHIANG (ANDRÉ, SINGAPUR)
What makes André Chiang’s cuisine so appealing is the emotional component that we consider essential in making a gastronomic experience THE experience. Taiwan, France, Singapore. His trajectory gives his work a special dimension. The person is an extension of his work: elegance that makes you stop and take a good look. We travel to Singapore to experience André Chiang’s work firsthand and discover what’s going on in his mind. The dinner he offered at Azurmendi in October together with Eneko Atxa and Ricard Camarena was a demonstration that there is really no such thing as distance. It only exists in our minds.
BORJA SIERRA (GRANJA ELENA, BARCELONA)
What do Albert Adrià, Albert Raurich, Juan Mari Arzak, Dani García, Fina Puigdevall and even the late Santi Santamaria have in common? They’ve all at one time or another had a seat in this eatery. But this is much more than a place where chefs eat. Granja Elena enjoys the same sort of patronage as fine-dining restaurants where, presumably, you have to book months in advance. A typical neighbourhood restaurant that opened its doors for the first time in 1974. Located in an industrial area of Barcelona, it has no more than seven tables and a bar with five stools. Here, Borja (1980) and his siblings Patricia and Guillermo lead the flock in this temple of quality produce where working class haute cuisine and lunchtime rites are preached. From a memorable tripe dish to the pastry cream-filled xuxo. Everything goes. The only premise is enjoyment.
ENEKO ATXA (AZURMENDI, LARRABETZU, BASQUE COUNTRY)
What are the elements that make the dishes of certain chefs great? Well, we all know how the ingredients must be the finest and freshest available but if that is all it took, why aren’t the restaurants next to fish and vegetable markets always the best in the land? I suppose we should add to this the traditions and techniques of the region we are talking about but even then, I am not certain we will have found a winning formula. No, it requires a unique approach to ingredients, techniques and traditions for a highly competent chef to be considered a great one. Fortunately for the Basque Country, in Eneko Atxa, they have a chef worthy to be considered in the same breath as his famous colleagues in Guipúzcoa and Catalonia.
JORDI ROCA (EL CELLER DE CAN ROCA, GIRONA)
Jordi Roca manages it slowly but steadily, with a constant pace, hard work and a lot of imagination – an infallible recipe for the strokes of genius that are many of his dishes – in his own way, by the side of a Mexican beauty with eyes the colour of the sea, who is both his refuge and his driving force. He uses the weapons of a chef and applies them to the sweet world to make each of his follies a reality. The result: revolution.
LORENZO COGO (EL COQ, ITALIA)
Young people. It seems that in the Roman Empire the only one that dominates Western Civilisation is Caesar. And we try not to think like this. And we like people who feel like Spartacus. And there he is, Lorenzo Cogo, who decided to break with tradition and look beyond it. After engaging in gruelling battles in Gaul and Hispania, Lorenzo returned to Italy to fight at the front. This is what El Coq symbolises... Resistance. Raised in a family trattoria, the son and grandson of cooks, Lorenzo chose this career because it was his true passion. Determined to accomplish the goals he had set himself, like all budding chefs, he started working at entry-level jobs.
MARTÍN BERASATEGUI (MARTÍN BERASATEGUI, LASARTE, SAN SEBASTIAN)
"Garrote !!" is the slogan. That's what everyone thinks when see Martín. But Martín Berasategui is much more than that. He is a born fighter who exports kitchen and recognition throughout the world. He is a man who spread joy and passion for excellence wherever it goes. It is the mirror in which every cook wants to be someday. But above all, he is a great teacher that has marked a before and after in the history of our kitchen. Martin Berasategui fulfilled in 2015 40 years of experience in the kitchen. And Apicius celebrates the shape there is, and will remain, well beyond the "garrote!!" in Lasarte.
AKRAME BENALLAL (AKRAME, PARIS)
Akrame’s world consists of rejecting the mundane, of complete freedom to create, constant renewal of his menu, and a special state of mind. Akrame is a true exponent of creative reflection. He seeks perfection in texture, flavour and work, in which feelings play an important part.
ÁNGEL LEÓN (APONIENTE, EL PUERTO DE SANTA MARÍA, CÁDIZ)
Apicius wanted to experience first-hand what we consider to be two important moments in the history of contemporary cuisine in Spain. The closing of Aponiente. The opening of Aponiente. Our reasoning wasn’t merely a matter of sentimentality. Our aim was to highlight a series of values such as entrepreneurship, courage and non-conformity.
FINA PUIGDEVALL (LES COLS, OLOT)
No flashiness. No self-importance. No Km 0. ‘We were already doing that.’ The house where Fina Puigdevall was born is today a restaurant which, with two Michelin stars, lights up the Olot sky. Those of us who believe in passion-filled projects will be pleased to know that the saga is set to continue. Martina, one of her three daughters, is already being trained to take over the restaurant kitchen, and the American Dan Barber was host to her for a number of months at his Blue Hill Farm restaurant.
RICARDO SOTRES (EL RETIRO, PANCAR, ASTURIAS)
Ricardo Sotres had given Asturias, his native region, a new Michelin star. Marcos Morán, fifth generation chef at the Casa Gerardo restaurant founded in 1882, was insisting he would get one. For the weeks while we were in Prendes working on the book Casa Gerardo. 50 Steps in Contemporary Cuisine, Ricardo’s name was drilled into our eardrums. To the extent that, in order to pacify the beast, we ended up going to his restaurant. The experience was gratifying. For this reason, Apicius devotes these pages to a restaurant in which grandmother and grandson, grandson and grandmother passed each other the baton with the greatest affection.
LANSHU CHEN (LE MOÛT, TAIWAN)
‘With my strong belief in French cuisine, I seek out a new way to interpret what I have learnt and felt. So I create a culinary map that belongs to me and that belongs to this land. And as my thoughts ramble, the creation of each dish is equal to the size of each stage of my life. In other words, it’s an imprint of subtle details on my journey of self-discovery.’ Balance is found in the combination of the sour, the sweet, the spices and the aromas that come together at the last minute to create a perfect mixture of flavours. For Lanshu this is what represents the beauty of a dish.
PACO PÉREZ (MIRAMAR, LLANÇÀ, GIRONA)
Five Michelin stars: two in Barcelona, one in Berlin and two in his dream restaurant. Miramar overlooks the sea in Llançà, the Costa Brava. It looks it in the eye, as its equal, challenging it. The restaurant that has evolved into the culinary landmark it is today has been here since 1930. It has evolved at the same pace as the trade. Even a step ahead of it, on occasions. Miramar is genuine tramontana.