WO’GOA something is always brewing… January 2016 Issue

Page 89


Martin Berasategui Spanish Legend

“I have never lost the curiosity and passion for my job. I am always on a constant path of improvement and innovation. It has even intensified over time, I truly enjoy it. The kitchen has a magic like no other and is a huge motivation for me.” That’s intensified passion. It is also the key to winning a total of 7 Michelin stars, more than any other Spanish chef. In addition to his three at Restaurante Martín Berasategui, he holds two at Restaraunte Lasarte in Barcelona and another two at M.B. in Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands. His restaurant M.B. in the Ritz Carlton Abama resort in Tenerife gained its first Michelin Star in the 2010 guide. In addition to his three Michelin starred restaurants, he owns a further six around the world including two in the Dominican Republic, one in Mexico and he recently opened a restaurant in Costa Rica. This passion developed in a man who began his dream of becoming a chef while growing up in a busy family restaurant business. His family owned the popular Bodegón Alejandro near the old part of the city of gastronomes, San Sebastian, Spain. The restaurant was also home as “it was where we lived our lives and it was the epicenter of everything. We only went to our house to sleep and freshen up.” Even though at the same time, he was being heavily persuaded by his aunt and mother to NOT become a chef because it was a very hard-hitting vocation. They wanted him to try other careers where he perhaps wouldn’t have to work so hard and thus, be much happier. He began working at his parent’s restaurant at the tender age of 14. At the age of 20 he took over, and earned his first Michelin star there by the age of 25. Intensified passion. Martin had many influences in his cooking career, the obvious paramount being through his family’s restaurant business. At age 17 he went to France to learn about pastry. He worked alongside Jean-Paul Heinerd and André Malin and he especially credits Didier Odile, from whom he learned to keep meticulous notes. “I obsessively wrote down everything they taught me.” His pastry lessons helped him create the nouvelle slice of Basque cuisine. They were fundamentally unknown for their sweet course at the end of a meal. He credits himself in creating nouvelle Basque sweets since the cuisine lacked in desserts. Martin is modest as he feels the people who eat it should be the ones to describe his cuisine. “I often say that my cuisine is complex and can pave the way for the next generation. It’s difficult for people to understand that we must add many details to make it all work at the level that I demand. It’s my specialty suppliers and the actual products which are the essential parts that we need to make the creative cuisine we offer in my restaurants. I always have given my best but, I am always learning something especially from very great professionals who have given us their life in the art of gastronomy.” He says it was Michele Guerard who gave him his best lessons. “Michele taught me that without tenacity, perseverance and passion there was little to do in the kitchen. He is an expert chef who really paved my way of understanding cuisine.” WO’GOA January 2016 -


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