One is considered one of the most famous chefs in the world, the first in Spain to obtain three Michelin stars, number 8 on the list of the World's 50 Best Restaurants, and honoured in 2011 with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
And the other is a passionate, hot-blooded Tuscan butcher, who – from his hometown in Panzano in Chianti – sends his acclaimed Florentine meat all around the world. While, of course, quoting the supreme Italian poet, Dante Alighieri.
We’re talking about the chef Juan Mari Arzak and the butcher Dario Cecchini, the two featured subjects of our exclusive videos. We’ve put them face-to-by in a “foodie” version of the Proust questionnaire. If you’d like to get to know each of them better, enjoy this double interview – and if you missed it before, be sure to check out both of their videos: the Arzak’s, a chef dynasty and Dario Cecchini, the art of a master butcher.
Sweet or savoury? Arzak: Both. Cecchini: Savoury.
Sour or spicy? Arzak: I prefer to have foods separated from their sauces and garnishes so I can pair them how I wish. Cecchini: Spicy.
Water: still or sparkling? Arzak: Both. Cecchini: Sparkling.
Wine: red or white? Arzak: Both. Cecchini: Red.
Champagne or beer? Arzak: Both. Cecchini: Beer.
What is the first taste you remember, and why? Arzak: Being born in a restaurant, all tastes are familiar to me. But I do remember a particular scent… that of seaweed at low tide. Cecchini: My grandmother’s thick tomato soup.
What is your comfort food? Arzak: Both prosciutto and pork loin, accompanied by bread and wine. Cecchini: Meat tartare, fresh onions with a bit of oil and a glass of red wine.
If you were a dish, which one would you be? Arzak: Codfish in green sauce with almonds. Cecchini: “Tenerumi”, beef knees with salad.
What is the flavour of...
…sadness? Arzak: Insipidity. Cecchini: A dish that hasn’t turned out very well.
…happiness? Arzak: An interactive multi-sensory experience. Cecchini: Warm bread in the morning.
…fear? Arzak: Octopus. Because of seeing the film “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea” as a child. Cecchini: “Cerebral” cuisine.
…friendship? Arzak: Oysters and champagne. Cecchini: Toasting with a glass of red wine.
…love? Arzak: Oysters and champagne. Cecchini: My wife Kim’s mouth.
Something you always have in your fridge? Arzak: Cold cuts, eggs, potatoes, onion, oil. Cecchini: Maple syrup for my morning oatmeal.
What is something you’d never eat? Arzak: Octopus. Cecchini: Shark fin soup.
What would food would you happily die eating? Arzak: Fried eggs with red peppers and French fries. Cecchini: My own special “Chianti sushi”.
What’s the ultimate taste? (The perfect flavour) Arzak: The egg. Cecchini: Mmm… I’m still looking for it. But I think that bread with olive oil comes really very close.
If you close your eyes and think of fine dining, what comes to mind? Arzak: A multi-sensorial experience. Cecchini: A big table with lots of people sitting around it. Fine dining is conviviality.