The Blog

Tour and Tasting at Arzak

In the development kitchen, the boys are working three months ahead for a dish (yes that's per dish) and they are currently working on about ten dishes before they will be ready to go downstairs to the restaurant, this is tapioca and lobster...

Not only did I interview Juan Mari Arzak and Elena Arzak (see my previous blogs here and here), I also enjoyed a tour and tasting in the Arzak kitchen...

First up it's the wine cellar, it simply takes an eternity to walk round before we go upstairs to meet the development chefs, plenty of books and open notes of first stage development ideas for future dishes. I thought I was the only mad chef who draws out his dishes, however, it's clear whether you're a casual dining chef or a three star Michelin dining chef, technology has its place - but you can't beat pen and paper...

Development office

Elena explains that they have a list of eight requirements per plate (texture, flavour and so on) and each requirement is captured in every dish.

In the development kitchen, the boys are working three months ahead for a dish (yes that's per dish) and they are currently working on about ten dishes before they will be ready to go downstairs to the restaurant, this is tapioca and lobster...

In the very early stages... but this chocolate marble tree is going to be immense; the chefs explain the idea is to put small pieces of fruit hanging from the chocolate tree.

Next I go into the 'BANK OF IDEAS' with 1500 ingredients on tap, I nearly faint!! Development chef's playroom without a doubt!

Juan Mari chooses an item to show me...hmmmnnn?

Sunburnt limes from Morocco that taste like coffee...

That's it - I'm off, ranting on about an idea already...

I'm a happy chappy!

Kitchen please... I say!!!

Chorizo & tonic...

Anchovy and strawberry...

Crispy manioc hydrated with huitacoche, stuffed with onion green tea and fois gras...

What you cooking at?

Mise en place...

Crisps... oh I love crisps

Kabrarroka pudding with kataifi

And to make it you must make Juan Maris mother's recipe like this:

Cut it and

Roll it

Fry it!

Hemp, mustard and lobster

Lobster head pegs anyone?

Potatoes...yes potatoes!

Sauce tasting..

Out it goes...

I could live on this pass...really I could

It's been a good day!

A great experience, I have learned some great techniques of which I can use in future food development. There is only so much of this magical stuff that you can capture on a still camera. It's possible I may return later this year to collaborate on a recipe or two and if I do I will bring a camera man and make a short documentary film that I know will simply blow your mind...

Now to dine in the restaurant!

Photographer: Antonia Pena / www.antoniapena.co.uk