January 15, 2020

A Michelin-starred chef alongside sailors and fishermen to pick up the catch he will be using in the kitchen later is not something you see every day. Nor is a place where spiciness is the main feature of each and every one of the creations. The product eclipsed the morning of workshops in the Sala Polivalente, and the last event was a gastronomic journey around one of southern Spain’s best foodie destinations, Málaga.

Salvador Gálvez (Fragments Café/ Picants Curtidillo, Barcelona) is well known for applying spices and hotties to all his creations. In Barcelona, his restaurant and a gastronomy outlet specialising in spices from all over the world set out to bring the diner different sensations in relation to the gastronomy that can be tasted and experienced there.

His philosophy is to give his dishes between three and four textures and different techniques to gradually reveal his flavours in a number of versions. That is why his creations are linked to sensations. On stage Gálvez produced a baby carrot salad in several textures with butter made of pickled shallot and spices; cod al pil-pil with red jalapeño, celery and cockles; his version of marinated lamb tagine with spices, tucked into a turrón nougat mould; and his array of different textures of chocolate with a pink pepper ice cream composed of a mousse, a ganache and a spice crumble with raspberry foam. Different textures in a dish where spiciness always finds a place.

From the sea to the plate

For Raúl Resino (Raúl Resino, Castellón), the sea is his life: “Before I even thought about cooking or becoming a chef, I loved the sea. My restaurant is 100% sea, with ordinary produce that is extremely difficult to work with. Sailors are very important in my work – they take me on their boats, they show me new products, and they use old recipes to cook for me, which I then try to retrieve and update in my own way”, the chef explains.

His restaurant only works with fish and seafood, and so at the morning workshop he presented a Castellón fish stew, his version of a “fish” crunch, by frying a canana, or squid lookalike, in three stages, and a caixeta or Noah’s ark served with algae and a foam veil.

His produce, delivered directly from the Mediterranean, is hand-picked, and on many occasions he goes along personally with the fishermen to get the items he will be using at the restaurant later on. “When I choose the fish on the boat, at the restaurant we make the product the star, while the other components are the supporting actors. Thanks to the fishermen I find things that have always been there, but are not used very often. That’s why I have things at the restaurant that have rarely been seen before”.

A walk around Málaga

Málaga products were the star attraction of the workshop presented by Diego Gallegos (Restaurante Sollo), José Carlos García (Restaurante José Carlos García) and Juanjo Carmona (Restaurante El Lago). Avocado, serrano ham from pigs fed a diet of chestnuts, elephant garlic and blue Campillo cheese were on the menu. Local products to enhance this local cuisine.

First, Diego Gallegos used ripe avocado to make an appetiser with a crunchy portion fashioned from its shell. Next was Juanjo Carmona, from Restaurante El Lago, where he made a case for kilometre zero produce, and consequently prepared some Málaga prawns in stock with elephant garlic.

The dessert was left to José Carlos García, with a special request: cheese cake using goat’s cheese in a dual version: the first version with a spicy part as a dessert or an appetiser, and a more daring version using goat’s cheese roll. “I made it spicy because it’s a great combination with blue goat’s cheese. We use chili – which can be anything from a simple chili pepper to a more powerful habanero – to give it a singular touch of fusion”. The blue cheese is made in Campillo à l’italienne, in a rather subtle gorgonzola style that works well when the chef is seeking a soft, silky texture.