Business April, 29th 2010 by

Andalucia's all-star chefs reunite for El Lago birthday bash

There is no better to celebrate a birthday than with a party at home with all your friends.

And that is precisely what El Lago restaurant has done to celebrate its tenth year. On Sunday, April 26, it united the chefs of eight restaurants in Andalucia that have been awarded Michelin stars. ‘All are friends, and many of them have participated in our gastronomy in the past’, Francisco Garcia, director of El Lago, recalled during the event.

It is a tribute well deserved by the participants, yet Garcia admitted that ‘it was not difficult to assemble this group’. After a day of playing golf, cruising around the harbour, and even receiving the press, the highlight arrived: a dinner for fifty people.

The guests were ‘customers from throughout the life of El Lago, who are already friends’, according to the restaurant manager. For 110 euros, they received a meal washed down with champagne. ‘It’s our special tribute to the French guide’, Garcia beamed. There were eight tables, one for each restaurant represented ‘each displaying their speciality’.

And at the tables, nine stars of gastronomy: Diego del Rio from El Lago, Victor Trochi and Daniel Rosado from Skina, Walter Geist of Trababuches de Ronda, Jose Alvarez of La Costa del Ejido, Alejandro Sanchez from Alejandro de Roquetas de Mar, in addition to José Carlos García from the Cafe de Paris Malaga, Dani García of Calima, and Julio Fernandez of Seville Amantales.

The menu consisted of eight dishes tasted, including more traditional samples such as carpaccio of shrimp with salted caramel, creamed avocado, and dried fruit vinaigrette, ranging toward the highly experimental molecular cuisine, with micro vegetables, an iodised emulsion of peas and herbs with oysters, or, most fascinating in its description, a tomato emulsion with Shrimps and yolk prepared at low temperature over a cockscomb with parmesan air.

The eight chefs opted for an Andalusian cuisine, using quality raw materials available in the region. As Chef Julio Fernandez explained, ‘We are a generation of cooks who have learned here, and our references are national or local. It is our big advantage’.

All these are examples of the high gastronomy of Andalucia, which, however, still needs development before it can reach the level of the Basque, for example. ‘We have excellent raw materials, but we still need a lot of food culture, especially in regard to the culture of the people’, said Francisco Garcia. On the other hand, Garcia pointed out that ‘few cities can boast as many Michelin stars as does Marbella’.

For his part, Dani Garcia, the best known of the Andalusian chefs, recalled that when he first cooked in Marbella, it was at El Lago. However, he takes a less enthusiastic view of Marbella’s status in the authoritative French guide. ‘Andalucia has been very Malgrat‘, he said. ‘There are only eight restaurants with stars, with thousands of establishments here’.

Chef Garcia continued, ‘The tourist also wants to experience Andalusian cuisine, not just steak with pepper. Andalucia is more than that’.

Ángeles Muñoz, Mayor of Marbella, was one of the many city leaders who attended. She said she wanted to support this reunion, and that she is glad to hear they will try to repeat it in coming years. The event highlighted what it means to ‘unite the quality of food with tourism’, she said, reiterating her ‘unconditional support’ for haute cuisine. 

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