I have the biggest privilege to have meet Javier Olleros the founder and head chef of Culler de pau.
He has tables in a beautiful avant-garde minimalist building in the midst of incredible nature and a little charming town O’Grove. It has enormous windows that face the entrance of the Ria of Arousa, with views of the islets of Noro and Vionta and the original perspective of the mountain range of Barbanza.
I was at the time traveling through spain with my best friend who is Galician, Diana who once when she was in london with her friend told me all about the natural wonders and the seafood as well as all there culinary treasures.
I was so mesmerised and knew from that moment that I must go there as soon as possible.
Indeed several weeks later I was in Galicia on a very intense culinary research tour.
We were recommended to try Culler de pau which was seemingly quite isolated in a very unexpected location however on entering I immediately had a great feeling.
The meal I had was incredible and I immediately realised Javiers talets.
He has a very natural style and has every element on the plate to the exactest point. Everything is there for a reason.
The cooking technique was perfection and the combinations were absolutely thrilling.
He has a rare natural intuitive and spontaneous chef . Working with him in service is really exiting as he is really in the moment when he works.
Javier Olleros belongs to a family with a long hotel tradition from O Grove. He inherited the profession from his father, a cook emigrated to Switzerland, and the good work from his mother, owners of Hotel Mar Atlantico, at O Grove. During the four months the hotel was closed, Javi made stages in kitchens here and there. He was at Casa Solla, at Toñi Vincente, with Arola at La Broche (Madrid), with Martin Berasategui at Bica do Sapato (Lisbon), Balzac (Madrid), Zallo Barri (Gernika), and he finished his stages in the world of Seiji Yamamoto (Tokyo).
I to was at Seiji Yamamoto RYUGIN. ( I will write about this very soon )
I feel I can relate to Javier’s work very well as he has many elements similar to japanese cuisine and jet at the same time he has this other dimension I know nothing about but which enriches everything in a way that is sublime. I fully believe in his greatness and shortly after my first visit I came back and eventually spent a good while working with him in his kitchen together with his family and team.
Javier is extremely generous and allowed me into his world.
Usually I never ask much questions or take pictures when I am on a stage however the connection was so genuine and sincerely felt that there was an openness that is incredibly important for me.
In all my 14 years of working with many traditional japanese chefs and other michelin chefs I have never found someone that I can share and fully trust to share my inner chef dimensions with. I really felt quite isolated and lonely at times as I had nobody to talk to about chef things and felt nobody understood my feelings and perceptions about food. Particularly living and working in london I hardly ever come across chefs that express emotions or sensitivity to the degree of the chefs I have meet here in spain.
My partner is an incredible pastry chef Sergio del Castillo Mora and my Sous Chef at the time was David Legrand both from Nobu. I will also write about them in another article in detail. Both accompanied me to Culler de pau for some time.
Javier does not speak english and I dont speak much spanish however the communication is always on the deepest of levels and this is because he is a chef that is intuitive, sensitive and very kind harted.
I can never thank him enough for what he did for me, Sergio and David.
Being in Galicia working with Javier and his team was so incredibly experience and meaningful. He opened my mind to many new possibility’s.
I value Javier and his team, his family and his work to the highest.
I have many storys to tell about all the incredible people I have meet through Javier. I will develop this article over time as there is so much to say about this unique very talented and kindest human being Javier Olleros.