He works freely, creatively and invents food with no boundaries. His ability is not limited to constructing and reconstructing and all the nouveau molecular business. He knows how to play with food. How to submit it to his own dynamics and terms, outgrowing whatever his teachers had taught him. And that is Andoni’s game. Considering that neither cream or butter are added to the food, one can assume that flavors are quite virgin as well.
A man who worked his way to the top through some of the best kitchens in the world, Arzak, ElBulli, Zuberoa, Martin Berasategui and Akelare to name a few, is not accidentally enjoying the spot amongst the world's finest. Taking a look at his restaurant webpage you will find a category called People and he is placed somewhere in there, amongst the many photos of his staff. And if you click on his picture, it barely mentions Mugaritz accomplishments. No matter how modest he is though, unmistakably, the man is a trend setter.
On the day of the visit, the young chef was nowhere to be seen on our guided tour of his kitchen. However, when we asked to meet him, he didn’t hesitate to come. He was waiting for us in the kitchen with an army of staff around him and looked a bit shy.
I asked him if he spoke English and he answered “Nada" with the same confidence as if he was saying “Fluently” and smiled. I laughed at his joke and then turned to the translator and said “Please tell him, that if there is such thing as perfection, he found it”. I was watching his face when it cracked with joy while turning his head down. I continued to the translator “And he is going to the top of the world” (not that he was not already there). And then he responded in Spanish... “You just made my day!”
It is a wonderful feeling to give feedback to this genius chef and have him tell you how much it means to him. I hugged him and took a few pictures, shook hands and left feeling owed by his modest presence.