David Andrés, Spain and Portugal Finalist: "Keep Growing Every Day and Never Stop Learning."
Chef David Andrés from ABaC Restaurant, Barcelona, was named as the winner of the Spain and Portugal semi-final of S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2016 for a second consecutive year.
The young chef cooked his way to victory with a signature dish consisting of 'sheep's milk, artichoke pistils, baby lamb meat and pine smoke.'
We caught up with him ahead of the Grand Final (to be held in Milan from 13-15 October 2016) as he puts the finishing touches to his signature dish under the guidance of Basque chef Andoni Aduriz (read his interview here).
My dish is unique because …
It is composed of three products which are very characteristic of my region: lamb, artichokes and Mediterranean pine. It is a rustic and simple dish where the three products react in a 100% natural way, as for instance, making an instant curd of fresh lamb milk and the pistils from the artichoke.
What are the main influences in your signature dish?
The main influences are the great chefs that I have had along my path. Xavier Pellicer, Neichel, Joan Roca and Jordi Cruz are masters that have thought me everything in my career, such as classic cuisine, technics and products. In addition, I have received influence from Andoni Luis Aduriz, for the pureness of his dishes, apparent simplicity and the ability to tell a story through his creations.
How are you collaborating with your S.Pellegrino Young Chef mentor in order to perfect your dish for the final?
Andoni Aduriz opened the doors of Mugaritz for me and I had the pleasure of working with him, talking and improving the dish. It was fantastic because he is the chef that has inspired me the most and I admire him a lot. I could not imagine any better mentor worldwide.
What led you to choosing a career in the kitchen?
My father is a great gastronome and since I was a child he has taught me the importance of eating well, the significance of temporary products, the value of raw material in every territory, to respect the kitchen and the profession of the chef. To have the chance to learn from chefs such as Joan Roca, Pellicer, Neichel and Jordi Cruz made me fall in love with my profession.
Who has been a mentor to you throughout your career?
My father has always been my example to follow, as a person and as a professional. He is a great father, chef and even a greater gourmand. He is the person that has given me everything so that I could become somebody in life.
What are your professional ambitions?
I am very fortunate to be the sous-chef of Jordi Cruz in the ABaC Restaurant in Barcelona, which has two Michelin stars. However, I am even luckier to run my own restaurant, Somiatruites, in the town where I was born, Igualada. My aspiration is to keep growing every day and never stop learning.
What’s the best dish you ever tasted?- where did you eat it and who cooked it?
As a huge cuisine admirer and a big fan of seasonal products, it is impossible for me to name just one product or just one recipe. Depending on at which stage of the year you find yourself or subject to where you are, you will enjoy one recipe or another. Gastronomy is too wide and marvelous to focus on only one dish.
What is the most exciting/challenging element of the S.Pellegrino Young Chef competition for you?
To get to know Andoni Luis Aduriz, for me, the best mentor in the world. The delight of working with him and visiting Mugaritz. Also, of course, to be able to enjoy, for second year in a row, the spectacular organization of S.Pellegrino, Milano, and get to know 19 fantastic young chefs and their admirable mentors.
What will you do if you win the competition?
I would give a hug to my grandmother and to my family and I would continue working, more than ever, every day, to keep on learning and growing together with the great team that helped me to get what I got.