There is an annual event in Alicante where chefs meet food meets fútbol players…
I was very fortunate to travel with Martín and our select team from the restaurant to the annual food and hospitality festival in Alicante, Spain. Here we presented six dishes from our Lasarte menu to an audience of…gosh, I don’t even know…hundreds? Picture a crowded seating area and entry way and enthusiastic guests clapping and standing after he presented each dish. It was almost…annoying how obsessed they were.
In this way the event made me realize the extent of Martín’s empire. He is a chef with breadth. I was by his side for two whole days and we couldn’t walk two feet without someone coming up to ask for a photograph. It never got old. He never got old. The most endearing part was that Martín firmly grabbed every hand and happily posed for photographs with strangers. He did so for avid fans at 9am and with equal enthusiasm for those at 9pm. Increíble.
Perhaps that is why his presentation was packed full and he received standing ovations in between dishes.
It was inspiring to watch chefs like pastry genio Paco Torreblanca, the Robert Deniro of chefs, Joan Roca, the always chic Quique Dacosta and Mr. Basque Eneko Atxa present dishes and share videos from their restaurants. Events like these are great opportunities to see what other chefs are crafting in their kitchens and more importantly, how they are presenting their work in these conferences.
I absolutely loved the presentation by Joan Roca. It told a story, it demonstrated culinary techniques, it had emotion, and it was professionally executed. Most importantly, it made me want to dine there. One day soon I will make it to El Celler de Can Roca…
It was also incredible to spend post-event hours with Eneko Atxa and his team to just shoot the breeze about anything and everything. Eneko reminds me of why I love Spanish chefs so much–because they’re human! At first glance they may appear shy or standoffish, but they are actually very approachable. They are gregarious, incredibly humble, and passionate about what they do. You just have to chat them up sin miedo, animo! Don’t be intimidated by their fame or fortune.
These are the chefs I admire.