ETXEBARRI the art of fire

This is one of my favourite places in the world. A dream, you are in the midst of nature everything is local and natural. I feel such an affinity here as it is just like japan completely seasonal and regional cooked with the utmost mastery and love.

Etxebarri is a tavern/restaurant in Axpe, Spain, halfway between San Sebastian and Bibao.

In japan the art of fire is one we hold so dear and to find someone that with all his hart cultivated his art to such distinction and sophistication from fire is a kind of a miracle experience for me.

The world has cooked with fire since the stone ages but no one has such subtle fine-tuning as Victor Arguinzoniz the Chef and owner. To create a menu from beginning to end all with the element of fire is mind-blowing.

His philosophy and work is one of the most established full rounded concepts and would consider him world ranking master of his art.

Dont be fooled to think this is just good grilling or anything that you normally find this is subtleties and refinement of preciseness cultivated from family tradition and years of close affinity to this particular developed technique. It is very personal to Victor, the land and his life experience.

Victor Arguinzoniz is also an incredible human being. I would like to mention he is one of the kindest and loving chefs. He was so generous to us sharing everything. I find myself only looking up to Victor with highest regards and he taught me to revive my on culinary culture through his refinement of fire. I am blessed to have been to Etxebarri and met Victor and really hope to return.

Here is a little about the restaurant:

Care and instinct under the discipline of fire and primitive cooking techniques, where simplicity and warmth of the grill inspire a natural landscape.

Wistfulness, with an adventure spirit for knowledge; tasting flavours, and rediscovering that space and time are imperceptible.

Knowledge is a collective good, a fountain of youth from which everyone can drink. Restoring local productions, seasonal and traditional, helps us collectively participate in the dance to which we are invited. Considering the daily work and identity, a certain world view away from the rigid dogmas of the common imagination, cultural colonialism, an authentic experience, deep.

The produce is paramount to Etxebarri and reflects the changing seasons throughout the year. Everything is carefully chosen in respect to the type of product and its method of its cultivation. Located in the verdant valley of Atxondo, the landscape surrounding the restaurant is dominated by Mount Anboto, the 1300 metre limestone peak that provides the restaurant with an abundance of local produce. From the holm oak trees we use to make our own charcoal, through to woodland mushrooms, wild berries and seasonal game.

Even the water we use comes from the natural spring that filters down the valley. On the lower slopes, our free-roaming chickens provide us with the freshest free range eggs, whilst we select a variety of organic vegetables from the garden on a daily basis. Other products made in-house include the cured chorizo, freshly churned butter, hand pressed chesses, black pudding, ice-creams and even smoked wild salmon.


Michelin Star for Culler de Pau

Culler de Pau is a very special place for me. Javier and Taka are the best team dynamic I have ever seen.

Javier only uses what is around his region of O Grove GALICIA and works it into minimalist master piece dishes but with flavours like Beethoven.

I have had the pleasure to work with this world class chef and have seen cooking in a completely new way through   the eyes of Culler de Pau and Galicia.

I am not reviewing his food because I believe you must go and experience yourself. I just want to share my pictures of one of the meals we had to encourage and excite as many people as possible to go and visit Culler de Pau.

Culler de Pau just was awarded a Michelin Star which was long time due to this outstanding team.

Ni, lovely Amaranta and Javier

Mugaritz… an experience of a life time

Mugaritz is the most emotional culinary experience I ever had since being a child and entering the japanese culture through Toshiro Mifune in 1975.

I found that emotions were not only pouring out of me but everything around me in Mugaritz was pouring into me.

Emotions is something not very popular in most kitchens and a sensitive person like myself often finds it hard as feeling, sensitivity and intelligent-creative thinking  is everything for me.

I was moved for days and still am. I even was crying at the incredible depth of this experience of a lifetime I shared together with Sergio at Mugaritz.

What everyone in Mugaritz achieved is magical and truly, I dream of this, I can feel it and love it.

This is not a review so I will not write what things are as I feel everything stads for itself no descriptions needed, only imagination. You must experience this yourself and for each one it will be different depending on how receptive you are. It is a very personal experience but surely one that is a unique experience of a lifetime.

The pictures dont even tell the story of what I felt as they only show the physical, If I could show the internal experience it would be a story of Ni and Sergio in wonderland were anything is possible with symphonies of pure delight and magic. It would be like entering a very sophisticated abstract painting, a living dimension of art and creativity.

Even the language of this region is magical and poetic.

I just feel forever grateful for this experience of a lifetime that purely gives a wealth of life to many new ideas and feelings about the world we live in.

In the midst of beautiful countryside a house of passion and ideas emerges, welcoming every person unconditionally regardless of status, serving pure creativity on a plate in an environment that is orchestrated in reverse of any principle we normally conceive. This is when you enter into wonderland:

CONGRATULATIONS to all my friends in Culler de Pau Restaurant for there well deserved Michelin Star

17 chefs were awarded michelin stars across spain but for me there is only one star and that is Javier from Culler de Pau.

The very first time I went to eat at Culler de Pau I knew this is special and was shocked he never received a star for his outstanding work
The land around O Grove is so special and everything he sources if from directly around him. He is surrounded by special growers who work naturally with the land, he has the sea and rivers and forests. It is completely a dream to be like Javier with all this nature around him.
But even more then this he has something so unique when it comes to cooking, it is a special galician natural and instinctieve magic. He has such a perfect sense of balancing flavours, textures and ideas that I fail to capture this in words, his work is so incredibly outstanding.
He is the kind of chef that never gets other people to do his job and he is without fail always at the front cooking and plating working with Taka-san on his side. They all have worked so hard and finally this recognition is unbelievably appropriate.
At Culler de Pau it is all family style and they all work together to make this work. You will not believe what 3 chefs in the kitchen can do, It is magic.
I hope now people will truly realize his incredible talent that he has. I wish him to shine very bright.
I want to congratulate him and his family and all the people in his team at culler de pau, a special dedication for Taka-san who is Javiers soul in the kitchen from day one.
We are so incredibly happy for all culler de pau!
A.Martinez – Grove Javier Olleros difficult to forget yesterday’s date. He has received one of the highest recognitions  that all chefs aspire to anywhere in the world: a Michelin Star. Culler de Pau, is in O Grove. Hours after the news, Javier Olleros was at home with his family,  he agreed to answer some questions but not before warning that he was repeatedly stunned. “The phone has not stopped ringing for a minute.”

Javier: Receive Michelin Star is a great joy. I’m still stunned.

Martinez: How did you hear of the news and what did you feet to hear?

Javier:I called a friend who told me in the afternoon, and the truth is I’m still assimilating.

Martinez: How would you describe the cuisine Culler de Pau?

Javier:Is a cuisine deeply rooted to the land. The restaurant is in a rural area of ​​O Grove. We are 200 meters from the river and surrounded by gardens, so I did not get very complicated when it comes to deciding where we should focus our kitchen. In Culler de Pau we focus on much seafood and many vegetables.

Martinez:  What are the cooks who have influenced you or that interest you?

Javier: ‘It’s a difficult question to answer, because I can forget some, but Pepe Solla, for example, is someone who helped me and still helping me. Andoni Aduriz is a huge inspiration and so is Ferran Adria  who is so important for my development as a chef because he inspired me to cook freely. But my greatest teachers are my parents, Isabel and Pepe.

Martinez: Michelin star must also be a very heavy slab weight to bare on your shoulders?.

Javier: It is a responsibility, yes, but mostly it is a recognition of work well done and a very motivational boost. It also involves a greater commitment to our work. The Star is a joy, a recognition, but not the goal. The aim is to defend my food and enjoy my work. For me Culler de Pau is a very personal commitment, and I love my job.

Martinez: O Grove is a town well known in the rest of Spain for its seafood and good hospitality, but lacked a Michelin Star. Now O Grove has it. Is this a prize for everyone who works at the stoves in your region of Spain?

Javier: I love O grove. I positioned my here restaurant because it is here where I am comfortable, where I know the products and suppliers. I think the Michelin Star will help people come to this town. O Grove is a charming place to discover, not just in summer. For me, the best months to enjoy O Grove are spring and fall.

Javier is a great chef but most of all he is the kindest and biggest hart in the kitchen.

E. OCAMPO / EFE – VIGO / MADRID Michelin gastronomic Constellation yesterday joined a new star.   The restaurant “Culler de Pau” located in O Grove, joins the popular red guide.

The chef and owner of Culler de Pau, Javier Olleros (O Grove, 1974), welcomed the award, which will be used “to bring people to our land.” The business opened in April 2009, with the philosophy of “freshness and roots” as a flag. The head room, Amaranta Rodriguez stressed the distinction surprise “that you never expect.”

Presenting Michelin Spain and Portugal 2013 was held without removing any stars for quality loss, despite a year of crisis. Yes they removed eight Spanish restaurants and two others had a Portuguese from the same category for closure or change of the business concept.

Therefore, Galician Michelin stars are so far Maruja Limon in Vigo, Silabario in Tui, Casa Solla in Poio, Casa Marcelo in Santiago, Yayo Daporta Cambados, A Season in Cambre, Retiro da Costiña Santa Comba, Malpica As Garzas and Alborada in A Coruña.

From the point of view of the three stars, Quique Dacosta, that named his restaurant in Denia (Alicante) and Eneko Atxa of Azurmendi (Larrabetzu, Vizcaya), amounted to the Olympus of the three Michelin distinctions, thus Already seven Spanish settlements that enjoy the highest distinction of the Red Guide.

Thus, the list of Spanish triestrellados complete with Juan Mari Arzak (Arzak, San Sebastian), Martin Berasategui in their “house mother” of Lasarte (Guipúzcoa), Carme Ruscalleda (Sant Pau in San Pol de Mar, Barcelona), Pedro Subijana (Akelarre, San Sebastian) and Joan Roca (El Celler de Joan Roca, Girona).

Two new stars were awarded to Catalan chef Paco Pérez in the Enoteca (Barcelona), in addition to the two that keeps in Miramar (Llançà, Girona) – and Raul Balam (Moments, Barcelona), sharing the lead with Carme Ruscalleda gastronomic , which added five between Spain and Tokyo.

Therefore, Spain has again with 17 restaurants with two Michelin stars. Alongside newcomers remain Can Fabes (Sant Celoni, Barcelona), Aduriz (Mugaritz, Renteria) and Jordi Cruz (ABAC Barcelona).

Also Diego Guerrero (Club Allard, Madrid), David Muñoz (Diverxo, Madrid), Paco Perez (Miramar in Llançà, Girona), Ramón Freixa (Madrid restaurant with his name), Dani García (Calima in Marbella, Málaga), Oscar Velasco (Santceloni, Madrid), Paco Roncero (La Terraza del Casino, Madrid), Sergi Arola (Madrid) Casa Marcial Arriondas (Asturias), Lasarte (Barcelona), Atrium (Cáceres) and Les Cols in Olot (Girona).

Besides the establishment of O Grove, got their first star Les Magnolies (Girona), Barcelona’s Two Sticks, and Koy Shunka Nectari; Lluerna (Santa Coloma de Gramanet, Barcelona), Mina (Bilbao), Ars Natura (Cuenca), the gijonenses Alejandro G. Urrutia and Port and Kabuki (Guía de Isora, Tenerife). Together with José Carlos García (Malaga), Els Brancs (Roses, Girona), Chiron (Valdemoro, Madrid), Ricard Camarena (Valencia), La Prensa (Zaragoza) and in Portugal, Belcanto (Lisbon).

CONGRATULATIONS to WABI Soft opening LONDON 2012 – This is only the beginning!

Sergio del Castillo Mora-Pastry Head Chef, Taiji Maruyama
Head Sushi Chef, Paul Kanja
Senior Sous Chef, Mark Morrans
Sous Chef, Scott Hallsworth
Head chef

This is only the beginning and what a beginning it was.

Yesterday the 21st on November 2012 Wabi opened the doors for there first night of there soft opening.

I had the honour and privilege to be one of there first guests and now reporting back about the tremendous success of the premiering opening night.

I have a long history with Nobu and have nothing but Love for many of the chefs that have spent time at this amazing restaurant. For us all, it is an important part in our lives and truly propelled all our careers in one way or another.

Scott Hallworth is a chef that had a big reputation in Nobu and clearly was one of the most talented Nobu Head Chefs in the UK. He was in command of a big brigade achieving the highest levels for Nobu during his leadership.

This is due to his utmost dedication to quality products and a natural flair for excellent cooking techniques and passion.

Yesterday he proved yet again his ability of balancing flavour combination creating every dish very much in tune through skilful balancing and combing of the right ingredients and perfect cooking times.

Scotts has created his unique japanese inspired style and flavours which really came through very clearly yesterday.

Now Scott having gained even more experience since Nobu has much matured which is now the best asset for Wabi and all there future ventures.

Scott has surrounded himself with some of the best people to create a fantastic dynamic from reception, to kitchen and bar, throughout the entire team of Wabi it is very clearly a solid and exiting team.

I am one of the most critical persons when ever I visit any restaurant. Nothing goes unnoticed  and easily offended by lack of attention to details however to my surprise I really found no faults. Besides on a soft opening one should not do so and really see the bigger picture of what is about to come from this talented group of chefs and front of house team. For me the key elements of Wabi london is the team and the food and the experience of the evening is  what I would describe as one of the best openings I have seen.

One would expect delays, confusion and mistakes but there was non whatsoever.

On my arrival I could not have expected a more elegant reception then from  head reception Oliver and and Maria reception manager. Both I meet in Nobu Berkely before and since have evolved into the best reception team that anyone could dream of. For me reception is so important and so often even in 3 michelin restaurants have been so disappointing missing the crucial elements.  Elegance, refinement respect and charm with perfect timing is the recopy for success.  I will give 10 out of 10 for Wabi reception team. (I am not really doing this evaluation as it is a soft opening, but occasionally I mention this in a few places.)

I was then seated in the bar for my guest to still arrive in the midst of and upbeat buzzing, exiting  and anticipative atmosphere amongst the guests across the room.

Rocco Catalano is bar manager for Wabi. He created a really beautiful cocktail list , I had a new fresh and elegant take on a classic Cosmopolitan which key elements were fresh pomegranate juice freshly squeezed to order, a dash of yuzu and raspberry caviar.

Throughout my evening one catches glimpses of stylish cocktails on the neighbouring tables enjoying the many different presentations, all beautiful in there own right. I am not normally a cocktail lover but this is a must for me now when ever I go to Wabi. I want to try them all.

The glassware Rocco chose is elegant and makes the entire experience of the wine or cocktail enjoyment much more sublime.

Overall the entire beverage side of Wabi is composed to its finest and most refined. I would give a deserving 10 out of 10 for the bar offer that Rocco created for Wabi.

The menu Scott designed is brilliant because instead of giving you a big bible of dishes to ponder through, he very rightly kept the struckture simple and user friendly.

The dish selections and structure is just perfect. All the descriptions are easy to follow. Well deserved 10 out of 10.

I ordered several items and did not mind about sequence order, I wanted to be easy as it was the very first opening night.

I am convinced I had the best waiter  of that night called Junior, who was dedicated to our every need. I am very sensitive and critical to the craft of service and have to say that is is rare to find waiters that know what you need without asking for it.

My glass was just empty he was already there to fill. The entire evening it seemed he was only looking after us.

This deserves a  dignified and refined 10 out of 10.

I normally I dont like Pinot Grigio that much however this was perfect for our beginning of the meal. The wine was light and had a very elegant and delicate character but yet refreshing and young  with very unique taste to it with it which left us debating to what it actually is. I really like when a wine does this as this means it is interacting with my imaginations.

Our first dish was Pork Scratchings with a pickled wasabi dip.

Now normally any pork scratching would send me running however this pork scratching is the best you will ever have! It came with a magic little towel to wipe your hands after but trust me you will not need it as these scratchings are completely not greasy at all. In fact they are so light if you attached a ripon to them you could float them just like a balloon, so airy and light forget rivita.

Another thing I really appreciated was the idea of a pickled wasabi dip which was absolutely a match made to perfection 10 out of 10.

Following dish was Lamb Chops tea smoked with smoky Nasu (aubergine) and a korean spicy sauce.

Very delicious and tasty, the aubergine was sweet and tangy with a smokey hint, the dip was not spicy at al, just right for pure enjoyment. I believe this will be a successful and very popular dish.

I have to apologise for the next picture because at this stage it was hard to take a picture before eating. As soon as the next dish arrived I just went for it.   It was Shetland Squid with scorched cauliflower and yellow chilli dressing.

I love squid and this is the kind of dish I need to eat at least once a week.  The texture of the squid was so soft and all the flavours and mushrooms together on your palet are just scrumptiously moreisch as well.

Beef fillet tataki with onion ponzu and garlic chips. This was my least favourite dish of the evening because even though the pleasure of texture is there you completely loose the beef. It is overpowered by the perfectly crispy garlic chips and the onion relish , the spring onion and the onion ponzu sauce. However it looked beautiful and I am sure this is going to be a favourite to have at Wabi. It is purely because every chef creates differently looking for specific things and this does not mean something is bad at all it is just my feeling. Also if I give everything a 10 out of 10 then you probably will not believe me how great this restaurant really is.

The next dish was squid with yellow chilli dip, Very crispy, tasty and no oil in sight. Perfect with my wine. 

At this point we could not resist to see what else Rocco had selected for the Wabi’s wine list.

We were recommended by Junior to try the Sauvignon Blanc which was beautifully elegant again with delicate perfumes of beach blossom and more complex in aromas then the Pinot Grigio from before.

Konbu roasted Chillian sea-bas buttery soft with a chilly ponzu and some pickled Daikon. We also had the sea-bas with truffle yuzu butter however we lost ourselves again and forgot to take a picture. That dish was lovely as the truffel was only a hint the butter so light and perfectly balanced with all the other elements in the dish.

Diver scallops with yuzu truffel egg sauce. The scallops perfectly sweet and the combination of all the ingredients on the palet is X rated..pure sensuality and perfect for all the gluttonist within you.

Foie Grass with sweet and sour soy, nashi pear, Rice and sesame sembe (cracker) and ume shu plum wine yelly with a dash of ginger.

The nashi pear were cut in perfect squares soaking up all the flavours of the foie and the sauces like a sponge and when biting into it, it released all these flavours into your mouth bursting, this together with he delicate foie gras was pure pleasure.

I should have said: “make mine a double” this is really devine, make sure you order one each do not share this.

Sushi with Maru-san:

This night I really could not eat all the dishes that I need to still try and I must go back to taste them all when I am not so exited.

Maru-san is a talented young chef with ability to stretch any traditional japanese training into imaginative new concepts. I normally just like to go and visit the sushi counter and enjoy an omakase by Maru-san. I highly recommend you do that on your visit to Wabi.

I will write a separate article in more detail about Maru-sans omakase very soon inorder to show more about his work in more detail.

On this occasion I wanted to try some of Maru-san’s creative nigiri’s.

We had Razor clam placed in the apple chips, yellowtail, wagyu beef, King crab, Abalone and yorkshire beef filet

After the wonderful sushi we had a very unique plum wine and unfortunately I dont know the name. I will find out. Wabi only have one plum wine so you can not miss it. It is very refined not sweet wonderfully fruity and so enjoyable. I appreciate the quality and the flavour of things, it really matters how people produce things to and you really taste pure goodness with this plume wine – the perfect pleasure drink.

We then moved to the dessert bar. I love dessert bars in japan there are a few. If chefs posses skills it is a crime to keep them in a separate kitchen!

Sergio has been working tirelessly on creating this pastry section for Wabi since September.

When a restaurant opens chefs will work split shifts sleeping only up to 4-6 hours a night and all day relentlessly perfect there craft without having any day off for up to 21 days plus. This is a profession that commands such discipline and focus as well as tremendous strength. I always am aware of the tremendous effort that is made by chefs on a daily basis to bring pleasures like this to our tables.

We were whole heartedly welcomed by Sergio and his lovely and dedicated team. Our first dish was a pallet refresher:

Coconut and Lemongrass sorbet with poached lemongrass stem.

I recommend you dont use a spoon, but instead use the poached lemongrass stem for extra flavour sensations released by the stem in combination of the sorbet.


Chestnut Dorayaki with vanilla and salted caramel icecream

This was delicious to and very japanese. Sergio made his interpretation of the classic and much loved dessert with chestnut instead of red bean. Sergio even got a stamp from japan to brand the Dorayaki’s

Zen Garden:

Matcha and avocado oil sponge, raspberry and beetroot spherification Yuzu cream, pine nut crunch and sesame sugar

This is so beautiful and all the flavours and textures were pure delight, for me the beetroot is what really transcends this dish, very cleverly grounding all the elements giving you sensations of sweet and fruity earthiness.

Pine nut crunch was already devoured before I could get to it but was assured it was crunchy and delicious.

The moistness of the matcha and avocado oil sponge was perfection.

This is a work of art and more so texture and flavour are at the foreground of this dish.

Chocol-8 which is eight different textures of chocolate

A perfect piece of art, I dont want to describe everything to much as you need to experience this for yourself!

A beautiful selection of perfect small flavour delights that are heavenly.

We want to thank the entire Wabi team for our delightful and special experience.  We feel extremely honoured to be the very first of customers, which is an experience that was infectious and filled us with happiness and special memories.

I really want to point out that this is the very first time Wabi opened there doors and my photography can not really do the dishes justice.  I normally never review any restaurant and I am not a writer, I am a chef myself however when people work this hard to make your evening so incredible serving you nothing but the best with the very best of intentions from the hart, it was the least I could do to try my best to applaud the success of this venture through my little article on my humble blog. It is one of the best and smoothest openings I have encountered and everyone at Wabi team needs to be congratulated for this. This is only the beginning!

A special thank you to  John and Delroy my dearest  and truest friends in life for always being the best company possible. They were so brilliant helping me to define and enjoy every single detail, taking fabulous pictures of the entire evening and never growing weary of my chefy analytical mind.

We wish Wabi all the best for the future and want to say congratulations and thank you for your hard work.


Paul Liebrandt…a matter of taste

is the way
And hard,
that out of hell
leads up to light.
John Milton, Paradise Lost, 1667
“Chef Paul Liebrandt food melds the tradition of classical cuisine with a contemporary, personal approach to ingredients and technique and a uniquely graphic visual style. His most recent restaurant, Corton, at which he is Chef and Owner, has been at the forefront of the New York and national dining scene since opening in October 2008, having been honored with two Michelin stars, three stars by The New York Times, and enshrinement in Esquire magazine’s industry pantheon, its Best New Restaurants list.”
I am so pleased about this short film that documents the facts of what a chef has to go through inorder to get to were he wants to be.
You always know what you want to do exactly and how to do it however so many obstacles are in your way and you can find yourself on a road that seems your life is heading for the toilet instead of Michelin heaven. You are young and full of passion and then embark into the unknown dimensions of bad business partnerships and projects that really take it out of you, in Pauls case it was flipping burgers to consulting for marshmallows until one day someone who knows what they are actually talking about letting him do the work he needed to do inorder to achieve excellence.
It is a story I can identify with so much as I have been in many of the mentioned situations on this film  myself.
I added a link below of this short film which is showing you the real side of how it is when you are a chef on your own with nothing but your passion on your side.
Paul Liebrant is a natural chef with a very wise soul already at such a young age and due to his passion and perseverance achieved his goals. He seems like a really cool guy but most of all a really nice human being with a real gift for what he does.
In the film you see Paul being slated by critics at his early stages of being a chef.
Food critics should celebrate chefs that are adventurous instead of putting there set ideas of how things should be to there personal taste! I dont think a chef has to comply with any format and is allowed to create complexity and ambitious dishes as this is normal for any chef that has passion running in there vains.
Why not have a lot of things going on in your dish? It does not always have to be simplicity  I think it is important to go for the ambitious dishes as we eventually find our core. Chefs work with the feedback of everyone but we should also allow ourselves to join the journey of the chef as any chef that goes that far to be ambitious and taking risks is someone on a very exiting journey of looking to brake boundaries  This is not something we can learn by being conservatieve, we have to go into the unknown to find something that becomes more refined as we develop as chefs.
Look at Ferran Adria’s dishes early stages till now the dishes look so different right. Also even until recent not every dish was to everyones taste at el bulli…it;s a journey and also relating to this avantgarde idea Ferran decided to not make the food to please everyone it is a presentation of ideas and creativity.
Watch the film it is really inspirational!

elBulli Foundation Cinema

There is no limitation on imagination and this why I love Ferran Adria. His plans for the future are incredible he is not only the best chef in the world but the most generous. He has shared everything with everone and he is stretching  possibilities and imagination to infinity.

The first time I met Ferran Adria was an accident in Barcelona.

I was walking and someone bumped right into me. I was startled then I could not believe my eyes…it was Ferran.

I was even more startled as I have the highest regards for this person through his work for many years and there he was bumping into me in the middle of busy Barcelona. I could not believe it. I am incredibly shy and would never talk to someone, but could not help myself and taped him on the shoulder as he was about to walk on and I literally crossed my self in christian fashion completely spontaneously and said Oh my god I am a very devoted person to your work. He was with a group of people and they could see my sincere overwhelming experience and seemed to find my response endearing and we were laughing together.

This was the most magical encounter for me. To bump like this together with the best chef in the world is no short of a miracle.

I am not christian at all, however it was as If I was meeting God. God is a creatieve force and this is exactly what Ferran is. He is one of the most an incredible creative forces alive.

He is currently busy with so many projects you can go to the elbulli website to see.

Below is the elbulli foundation plans of a cinema and space for brainstorming. All the info is from the elbulli website and VIMO:

Ferran y Juli nos piden un espacio para BRAINSTORMING y CINEFerran and Juli asked from us a space for BRAINSTORMING and CINEMA
elBullifoundation©Cloud 9
Ferran nos pide preservar las vistas desde el lugar privilegiado en que se encuentra la sala audiovisual.
El acceso será semienterrado y estará marcado como un apéndice del edificio.
el observatorio tendrá un mirador alargado y estrecho para poder disfrutar mejor de las vista.
comenzamos a acercanos al mundo de los CORALES MUERTOS, óseos, calcáreos, con perforaciones para dejar entrar la luz, o enfocar a vistas especiales del cielo.1. TACTICAL OBSERVATORY:
Ferran calls us to preserve the view from the privileged place, where the media room is located.
Access will be partially buried and marked as an appendix to the building.
the observatory will have a long and narrow viewpoint in order to enhance the viewing experience.
we began to approach the world of DEAD CORAL, bone, limestone, with holes to let in light, or focus on special views of the sky.
Movie Brainstorming exterior
elBullifoundation©Cloud 9
Brainstorming. Alzado
Brainstorming. Façade
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Brainstorming. Escenario 01. 9.00-11.00. Reunión de grupo
Brainstorming. Scenario 01. 09.00-11.00. Group meeting
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Primer simulacro de Escenario 01 en elBulli donde se ubicará la sala brainstorming. Con la última generación de camareros y cocineros de elBulliRestaurant. 17 de marzo del 2011.First simulation of Scenario 01 at elBulli where the brainstorming will be built. With the last generation of cooks and waiters of elBulliRestaurant. March 17th 2011.
Brainstorming. Escenario 02. 20.00-… chill out-cine
Brainstorming. Scenario 02. 20.00-… chill out-cinema
Movie brainstorming interior
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Brainstorming. Planta
Brainstorming. Plan
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Brainstorming. Planta de cubiertas
Brainstorming. Roof plan
Brainstorming. Sección por acceso principal
Brainstorming. Access section
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Brainstorming. Sección por el mirador
Brainstorming. Lookout section
Lenguaje y tecnología que se incorpora en la piel del brainstorming
Language and technology embedded in the brainstorming exterior skin
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Detalle exterior de la piel del brainstorming. Elementos tecnológicos y micropaisajes
Detail from the exterior skin of the brainstorming. Technological elements and microlandscapes
Detalle exterior de la piel del brainstorming. Elementos tecnológicos y micropaisajes
Detail from the exterior skin of the brainstorming. Technological elements and microlandscapes
Render exterior de la piel del brainstorming. Elementos tecnológicos y micropaisajes
Detail from the exterior skin of the brainstorming. Technological elements and microlandscapes
Imágenes interiores del brainstorming
Interior images of the brainstorming
elBullifoundation©Cloud 9
Proceso constructivo del brainstorming:
Creación de un inflable – Introducción del mallazo – Proyección del aislante y hormigón – Creación de perforaciones
Constructive process of brainstorming:
Creation of the inflatable – Introduction of the mesh – Projection of the insulation and concrete – Creation of holes
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Estudio estructural de DOMOStructural studio by DOMO
Estudio estructural de DOMOStructural studio by DOMO

cook it raw…Japan

“Cook it Raw sees avant-garde chefs and traditional food producers come together to create a unique dining experience that explores social, cultural and environmental issues.

In the shadows of the great Mount Haku-san, an expedition takes place to discover the sustainable fabric behind Japanese gastronomy. Cook It Raw for it’s fourth instalment discovers the prefecture of Ishikawa, and immerses itself in ancient rituals and methods have been passed down from generation to generation, enriching the local cultural soil for centuries.A culinary experiment where the chefs create a dish using only the products found in region of Japan, famed for its dedication to harnessing intricate flavour while respecting natures boundaries.Ishikawa Prefecture is also an established artisanal hub in Japan, and each chef was teamed up with a local artist to collaborate on the creation of a dish.Each dish was presented on a plate made by a local artisans from the famed Utatsuyama Craft Workshop, in Kanazawa City. Fifteen artisans from Utatsuyama Craft Workshop, in Kanazawa City where selected, and each one created a dish using traditional Japanese techniques infused by the contemporary vision of the chefs.

The 4 day adventure saw the group immerse themselves completely in local traditions.

Exploring the fish auctions of Nanao City in the Northerly Noto Peninsula. Foraging in the Satoyama forest of the Kaga Hills.

Attempting to hunt duck’s with the ancient technique of Sakaami Ryo.

Tasting and matching the most emblematic sake’s to their dishes.

sleeping and dining in the traditional Ryokans of Yamashiro and Yamanaka Onsen.

the chefs then meditated their experiences and presented their discoveries on a dish at a gala dinner on the final night. The final dinner was titled “Shoku-do”, which translates as “The way of food”.

the dishes where infused by their discovery of Japan, and anecdotal moments of their expedition were present in the naming of each chef’s creation.”

In 2012 they went to Poland check the link below:


Emotional Intelligence

Goleman authored the internationally best-selling book, Emotional Intelligence (1995, Bantam Books), that spent more than one-and-a-half years on The New York Times Best Seller list. Goleman developed the argument that non-cognitive skills can matter as much as I.Q. for workplace success in Working with Emotional Intelligence (1998, Bantam Books), and for leadership effectiveness in Primal Leadership (2001, Harvard Business School Press). Goleman’s most recent best-seller is Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships (2006, Bantam Books).

Since the publication of that book, conferences and academic institutes have sprung up dedicated to the idea. EI is taught in public schools, and corporate leaders have adopted it as a new way of thinking about success and leadership. EI, and one’s “EIQ,” can be an explanation of why some “average” people are incredibly successful, while “geniuses” sometimes fail to live up to their promise.

Emotional Intelligence, Goleman’s highly readable and wide-ranging exploration of the best research available by modern psychologists and educators, provides important insights into the true meaning of intelligence and the qualities it encompasses.”

David Perlman, San Francisco Chronicle

Having worked in the Gastronomic industry for a long time, I experienced that  emotional intelligence is undervalued and not  given enough or absolutely no attention, therefor as a business really missing the essence of what could make you much more successful and  efficient in every way.

Living in the modern society does not have to make you into a harsh, selfish nasty cut throat person at all, in fact there is no time that calls more urgently to develop emotional intelligence skills at your workplace.

If you look at why people leave jobs it is rarely because of the company, people leave bad bosses, bad leadership and bad values within the company.

Values can be the glue that holds your company together and emotional intelligence is like double glazing to your house saving you significant amounts of money in your business.

Emotional intelligence is something I value in any operation and still it is not recognised as a financial and overal benefit for company’s. (in my case restaurant industry)

How can we not develop these skills and expect to be the best?

Why do leaders and directors, managers not get any training in how to lead people? What are the criteria of leadership? One say’s leaders are naturally leaders, however even these type of people will benefit from refining these skills by putting some attention to there methods through training.

The owner wants results, they find someone to do the job and the selected person will then do what exactly?

Having bad bosses and a company with no values creates no motivation and dissolution and this filters right through to the consumer.

So why do we still not develop a more humanistic approach to our work places to reduce turnover of staff, to develop the best quality of work, present the best work ethics and customer service and the best results for the company?

Surprisingly as a consultant working for company’s they want all of the above however they will put themselves sideways to unknowingly destroy the very goal they want to achieve by simply not working with the people but instead execute disassociated decisions and loosing connection to the rest of the team.

This is often because the leader or board of management will only cultivate there relationships and trust with the other director making a distinct difference with the rest of the workers which again filters through to the customer as insecurity.

By giving significance to only certain people and excluding and disregarding others, what can you expect from this?

This is a very old fashioned way of running a business that is based on insecurity therefor a superiority has to be created, a kind of dictatorship.

All people are intelligent, life is intelligent and the best way to deal with everything is through intelligence.

Working with Emotional intelligence is primarily developing the following skills:

  • self awareness
  • empathy
  • managing your emotions
  • motivation
  • social skills

Quite commonly businesses focus only on what is going to benefit them which again is also coming hand in hand with treating people as a commodity that mentality will filter through to your customers.

This creates a very one-dimensional feeling in your business.

Why is Apple for example so amazingly successful? The entire product is based on emotional intelligence principles and this filteres right through the people working at the stores.

To illuminate your product and business then you really need to develop emotional intelligence by working with people and let this filter through everything that you do.

To much importance given on the inner circle of a company distancing everyone involved including your customers.

Really all this does not make any sense at all.

Sadly the motivation to achieving gets so fierce that there is a general attitude that develops that is really negatieve    towards others. It is the classical movie character that walks ice cold over people that are perceived as weaker or less important.

At the end of the day you need those people, nobody can run a business on there own so why make them feel inferior?

In the worst case scenario I have witnesses extrem antisocial behaviour coming from directors as well as people with some authority within company’s that result in causing even harm to other workers.

In some cases  ex directores or work colleagues will even go as far as to try to cause even personal harm to someone that has left there company out of pure spite.

I have seen physical abuse in kitchens but mostly mental abuse which is unacceptable and all efforts should be made to evolve and controle our work ethics.

If only the goal matters and not the person then there is something wrong.

When leaders and managers loose all sens of respect for the people they are suposed to be leading then you do ask yourself were are they really planing to go with this company?

When you are at the work place we work with many different people from different backgrounds and ages. Everyone needs to continuously develop these emotional intelligence inorder to become the best worker and become the best company but more so to never forget to be consistant with your values.

You can not have certain values at home and to your friends and at work completely different ones.

I can not really speak in full detail about this vast subject on this blog however to redefine and take great care as to what the foundations are that you are building your business upon is extremely important.

It is not enough to evolve technically in the modern age but we should also develop emotionally creating better ways to deal with each other and recognise that this will improve not only lives and work but profits and aid in running an economic business.

The future of business is emotional intelligence.

Richard Branson as part of his top tips to running a successful enterprise is Listening as you never know from whom or were you can find new inovations or intelligence’s for the benefit of your business.

“The Harvard Business Review recently had an article called ‘The Human Moment,’ about how to make real contact with a person at work: … The fundamental thing you have to do is turn off your BlackBerry, close your laptop, end your daydream and pay full attention to the person.” Daniel Goleman

Here is another interesting talk:

Question: What is emotional intelligence?

Daniel Goleman: Emotional intelligence refers to how well we handle ourselves and our relationships, the 4 domains.  Self-awareness, knowing what we’re feeling, why we’re feeling it, which is a basis of, for example, good intuition, good decision-making.  Also, it’s a moral compass.  Say, in part, is self-management, which means handling your distressing emotions in effective ways so that they don’t cripple you, they don’t get in the way of what you’re doing, and yet, attuning them… to them when you need to so that you learn what you must.  Every emotion has a function.  Also, [marshalling] positive emotions, getting ourselves, you know, involved, enthused about what we’re doing, aligning our actions with our passions.  The third is empathy, knowing what someone else is feeling.  And the fourth is putting that altogether in skilled relationship.  So that’s what I mean by emotional intelligence.  There’re many definitions out there. The part of the brain, it turns out, that supports emotional and social intelligence is actually the last circuitry of the brain to become anatomically mature.  And because the neuroplasticity of the brain shapes itself according to repeated experiences, so my argument is, hey, we should be teaching kids regularly overtime, in a systematic way, self-awareness, self-management, empathy, and social skill.  In fact, there, now, enough programs and they’ve been around enough in schools that they’re about to publish a huge meta analysis, looking at hundreds of schools and kids that had the program versus those that don’t.  Guess what?  All anti-social behavior, you know, disruption in class, find that… it goes down 10%.  Pro-social behavior, liking school, well-behave, up 10%.  Academic achievement scores, up 11%.  So it really pays.  Executive function, which is mediated by the prefrontal lobe, both helps you manage your emotions and helps you pay attention.  So as kids learn these skills, they also learn learning… basic learning skills.  I think that the fact that that was an argument was one thing that caught people’s attention.  Then, there was a little chapter on… called managing with heart, which argued that leaders who were sons of a bitch were actually defeating the company’s own mission.  And I think that made a lot of people happy because they work for people like that.  I don’t know… Some people gave it to other people because they thought they needed help in this domain.  I’m sure there’re a zillion reasons why people like the book.

Question: Are we becoming more emotionally intelligent?

Daniel Goleman: I hope more.  I know IQ has been going up for a hundred years as children encounter more sophisticated cognitive environment as they grow.  I don’t know that we’re becoming more emotionally intelligent.  I like to hope we would but I think that the number of intergroup wars going on, the intergroup hatred going on, the, you know, levels of familial abuse, in other words, indicators of emotions out of control in dangerous ways don’t look that great, which is why I’m a very strong proponent of getting these social, emotional learning programs in every school worldwide.

Question: Are women more emotionally intelligent than men?

Daniel Goleman: Well, I get asked that question in a different way, which is, are women more emotionally intelligent than men?  And you have to remember that emotion intelligence is a range of abilities, self-awareness, emotional self-management, empathy, social skills.  Women tend to be better than men on average at empathy, particularly emotional empathy, sensing in the moment how the other person is feeling and also, at social skills, at keeping things feeling good between people in a group.  Men, on the other hand, tend to be better on average at self-confidence, particularly in group, and at managing distressing emotions.  But what’s very interesting is if you look at leaders who were in the top 10%, there’s no difference between the men and the women on any of those variables.  In other words, you have a whole human being.  So I would say that on average, there probably are differences men and women in this domain of ability.  But as people develop their skills, as people become more effective, they pick up strengths in areas that they need.

Question: What cultures have the highest emotional intelligence?

Daniel Goleman: Well, I think that emotional intelligence as a universal but it looks different in different places.  You know, Japan has a very rigid set of rules of social interaction, lots of subtleties.  Americans typically blender in to the Japanese system, don’t get what’s going on.  And, you know, it’s embarrassing but they wouldn’t recognize, necessarily, emotional intelligence in Japanese setting.  Brazil is a very different culture.  It’s very outgoing, you know, kind of like an Italian culture.  And so, it will look different there but I think the fundamentals are the same.