A group of professionals have been selected by the organization after countless journeys all around Spain, and whose merits will be assessed by a broad-ranging panel of judges made up of food specialists and critics. The winner, after the individual and secret voting process, will join the list of those who have already won this award, among which are: Carmelo Bosque, David Yárnoz, Iñigo Lavado, Ricard Camarena, Vicente Patiño, David Muñoz, Rodrigo de la Calle, Jaime Tejedor, Óscar Calleja, Jesús Segura, Iago Castrillón, Daniel Ochoa and Luis Moreno, Diego Gallegos, Javier Estévez, Jesús Moral and Nanin Pérez. When they were discovered, they were professionals at the start of their careers, but now collectively have many Michelin stars and myriad recognitions.
Restaurant KAVA (Marbella)
Fernando Alcalá is a young, 27-year-old lawyer who hung up his gown to embrace cooking. He gave up a brilliant career in law, leaving the law firm where he worked in Zurich to run his own restaurant in Marbella, his hometown, where he owns a small restaurant with very few tables. He is a self-taught, well-read chef who has travelled much of the world, and studied the essence of many cuisines in great depth. He has the knowledge worthy of a wine and food gourmet enthusiast. He offers a menu of ten dishes that changes every morning depending on the local ingredients he finds. Produce that he treats with a technique and creativity that people love and with which he reinvents himself every day.
Clara Puig de la Bellacasa and Borja Susilla
Clara Puig de la Bellacasa (30) and Borja Susilla (29) have been offering original food at Tula, a tiny restaurant in Jávea, for two a little over two seasons. They trained under Marcos Morán (Casa Gerardo) and Quique Dacosta, who imbued them with the spirit that accompanies the best cuisines; the meaning of flavour, and the creation of balance. Something singular about Susilla’s work is the way he treats coastal fish; in partnership with local fishermen, he receives fish that have been slaughtered using the ikejime method, and then leaves them to age in a cold room for a few days for their texture and flavour to become more refined. His cuisine is simple but very original, skilfully using seasonal produce and delving into the gastronomic customs of this corner of the Mediterranean where they have achieved well-earned success.
Rebeca Barainca and Jorge Asenjo
GALERNA San Sebastián
With the audacity of the young – they are both under 30 – Rebeca Barainca, from La Mancha, and Jorge Asenjo, from Madrid, create recipes where boldness and technical details are at the fore. A youthful, mestizo cuisine with transgressive accents in all their dishes, it is rooted in both Basque recipes – which dominate thanks to the long time spent in the Basque Country – as in their respective places of origin. Theirs is a contemporary style, typical of open minds, that harmonizes local ingredients with others from distant shores. In every dish there are recognizable flavours, the fruit of their imagination and the passion they share. It is not surprising that they have won the silver and bronze awards in the last two, hard-fought, pintxo championships in Guipúzcoa.
Els Quatre Molins,
Cornudella de Montsant (Tarragona)
Cook Rafel Muria, 24 year of age, is helped in the kitchen by Raymond Lupa and Gerard Virgili, 22 and 27, respectively. At first glance, ‘kids’ who are playing at haute cuisine. He studied at the Hofmann Culinary School in Barcelona; spent a full season with Michel Bras in Aubrac, and three years with Joël Robuchon in L’Atelier in the Quartier Latin in Paris where he became sous chef. Although he is from Perelló in the Ebro Delta, he is at the helm of a small restaurant that seats 20 people at the foot of the Sierra de Montsant (Tarragona). Nestled in the mountains, his cuisine pays tribute to the fish and seafood of the coast, and local produce (wild mushrooms, truffles, eels) is very present, all linked with the common thread of the honeys produced by his family.
Nothing is predictable in this secluded bar that has been converted into a restaurant. Neither is 31-year-old Jorge Moreno’s cuisine, which puzzles and convinces thanks to his passion, energy and skill. He is like a hurricane capable of whirling alone through each seating, serving thirty diners in the dining room and with just one assistant in the kitchen. He has worked with Albert Adrià at Tickets; with Dani Frías at La Ereta; and with Marcus Wareing at the The Berkeley Hotel in London. His self-confidence in the way he works is reminiscent of David Muñoz’s style. Enthusiastic to the point of obsession, he effortlessly resorts to avant-garde formulas which pay off handsomely, applying the same easygoing approach to traditional stews as he does to spherification. His creations are complex, bold, sometimes unbelievable, but they work in the mouth.
31-year-old María Gómez’s cuisine enhances the essence of food without artifice. The cook on her food – which is milimetrically precise – is spot on, and she is very skilful when to comes to aesthetics and seasoning. Gentle and reserved, her dishes embody delicacy and a wealth of nuances as well as an inner strength that is concealed behind her calmness. A succession of suggestive creations arrives at the table where everything comes together with an innate balance and elegance. Contemporary recipes that harmonize ingredients from Campo de Cartagena; fish and seafood from the Mediterranean with fruits and vegetables that grow on the banks of the Segura River. In short, a great cook who masterfully prepares rice dishes and brings freshness, technique, modernity and tradition to her dishes in equal parts: the landscape of her land on a plate.
Barely a month after its inauguration, the restaurant Efímero and its cook Joaquín Serrano, were ready to become a true chef and a local revelation thanks to his strong offer. At the age of 27, Joaquín Serrano’s modern dishes have academic undertones and a French influence, are moderate in their creativity, shun special effects and Asian temptations; perhaps an unconfessed form of rebellion.
His cuisine, which although cannot be pigeonholed as a seasonal one, is closely dependent on the whims of what is on offer at the market. So much so that his menu, which is handwritten, changes by the hour depending on the ingredients that burst into his pantry.
In short, clear ideas, well-defined dishes and, despite his young age, a great knowledge of the profession.