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David Andres Morera of Barcelona’s ABaC restaurant is the S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2015 finalist for Spain and Portugal. The 27-year-old Spanish sous chef will showcase his signature dish of ‘eels baked and smoked with jus, with foamy hollandaise sauce and spring onion pickles’ at the grand final at Expo Milano 2015 in June. He spoke to us ahead of the big event, you can also read what his mentor Ángel León had to say about S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2015.
Tell us about your signature dish
The main ingredients of the dish are eel and onion. These two ingredients are not expensive, but still they are the highlights of my dish. They are very representative of my hometown, both work perfectly with smoky flavours. I decided to work with them using classic and modern techniques, so together I can create something with a very trendy look.
What made you decide to become a chef?
When I was a kid, my dad - a very gourmet guy - taught me about food, what to eat, where to eat, and about ingredients. But overall, he taught me to appreciate the work of all the people who elaborate on a good dish. All this learning makes a big difference to the cook I am today.
Which chef or chefs inspire you daily and why?
Firstly, I must thank all the chefs that gave me the opportunity to learn from them and inspired me in so many different ways (Xavier Pellicer, Jean Louis Neichel, Joan Roca, Jordi Cruz). Also, to the cooks and apprentices that I work with, because they give me the chance to learn something different every day. I can say that I'm a very lucky guy who's always been surrounded by people who help and inspire me every day.
What’s the best dish you’ve ever tasted - where did you eat it, who cooked it?
It's not fair to mention only one after all the different things I’ve tried in my life. I’m impressed by a lot of different ingredients and cooking techniques, some new and some classic. But nothing is more tasty than sardines, fresh from the sea, grilled with a little bit of olive oil and salt, obviously with the company of my family.
What’s the most challenging aspect of S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2015 for you? Participation in S. Pellegrino Young Chef 2015 is not a challenge, it’s a huge honour. I'm a very competitive guy and I'm really enjoying this. It’s giving me the chance set new goals and become a better chef.
What kind of help/guidance would you like from your mentor?
This is one of the most interesting things about qualifying for the final in Milan. I’m excited about the possibility of working with chef Angel Leon, making him feel comfortable with my dish, so he can see I’m willing to learn to create a better dish. I’m very confident because my dish has humble ingredients that Angel Leon is used to. He knows how to make humble ingredients the star of a dish.
What will you do if you win this competition?
I’m planning to keep my daily professional life as normal as I can. I know that things will change if I win, especially with the high profile of San Pellegrino Young Chef 2015 in the industry. But I’m really conscious that I have a long way to go when it comes to learning and reaching my goals. Overall, I’m thankful for the people I work with on a daily basis who’ve helped me get this far.