My earliest cooking memory is the long evenings I use to spend with my mum, covered in flour, baking bread in our tiny kitchen; even today I can still recall the aroma of yeast and the fresh-baked bread …..
My inspiration always stems from the produce, once you love this business you develop a deep respect for the product, almost a deep love, which is why no matter where in the world you are working, great produce is so important. Only then does my brain start work on how to transform it … the magic of cooking!
The reason I became a chef is my love of food and my passion to makes people happy …. being the lead player on a really special stage for someone is an honor that no chef ever forgets…I always tell my team; what is just one more dish for you to prepare is something special for the diner, something he needs to enjoy, make it with your five sense and then add a little piece of your heart!
My first job in a kitchen was when I was 13 years old, working for my father who was a chef. I used to help in his kitchen at weekends … even now I can still remember what I did on that first day; standing on top of a crate, because I was not tall enough to reach the counter, I removed the pits from olives before they were marinated. Its amazing that the memory is still so fresh even though more than 25 years have passed.
Even though I love Barcelona my favorite city for food is San Sebastian; some people may find this a little strange for me, but to be honest the culture and produce is different from Barcelona. It is a small city steeped in the culture of gastronomy and you can always discover somewhere new to eat or visit the great classic restaurants, a veritable paradise for any gourmet.
It’s difficult to choose only one restaurant as your favorite; when I have the chance I love to visit Akelarre (3 Michelin stars) in San Sebastian, the innovation and the quality of ingredients are just amazing it’s always a nice surprise and admirable how every dish is just perfect ….but if I want to enjoy simple food the best place to go is my mother’s house!! The best French fries ever with fresh fried eggs (soft yolk) and spicy chorizo just flashed in the pan and a glass of Priorato grape; combine that with a smile from my mother and the scent of her perfume and that is something that no Michelin star restaurant can ever match …!
When it comes to comfort food I always say the same, for me the perfect choice is a nice burger with French fries – yes, I’m a chef and I love burgers!! But not just any burger…I am totally anti fast food; but a freshly ground burger, homemade BBQ sauce, hoe-baked bread, mature cheddar cheese, homemade brine-soaked jalapenos, served with hand-cut French fries, crispy yet fluffy inside, sprinkled with a touch of sea salt and a ramekin of homemade mustard mayonnaise to give it a punch …. wow!! So it will come as no surprise to find it on our menu at Café Amsterdam in Bahrain!! The best burger in town!