We interviewed Albert Mendiola, the chef of the year 2017
How would you define your cooking style?
I like to define it as the cookery of the grandmother, with the look of the grandson. I like to use the current technique to get the flavors from before, with a renewed version. I rely on the local product of the agricultural park of Baix Llobregat and I work a lot with the grill.
What is your favorite plate?
I like everything that is well done, but since some time, I prefer more vegetable dishes in general. One of the plates I love the most, ant that that have been with me for a longer time, is the carpaccio of fried eggs.
Anyone can cook?
Anyone can cook, but not everyone can devote to cooking. It is a very sacrificial trade and I have seen many people who have not been able to keep it up.
When do you have to cook at home, what do you cook to show off?
At home I do not cook very much since I spend many hours in the restaurant. But when I do, I cook traditional rice dishes and stews, like “zarzuela” or “fricandó”, which can be a good option. I also enjoy cooking bushmeat.
An unspeakable dish that you love?
My grandmother’s “pisto”, which my mother still prepares. Accompanied by a good artisan bread.
What is it like to be the head chef of the “Kursaal” of Martín Berasategui at just 21 years old?
It was an incredible experience. I had the great fortune to share kitchen with Martín Berasategui and Andoni Luis Aduriz. But I also met many other great chefs like Arzak, Subijana, Manolo de la Osa, Marc Beirat and many others.
What is your recipe to become the chef of the year 2017?
I prepared a roman style egg with squid, onions and artichoke.
Take a brushstroke of squid ink sauce, squid stew with candied onion and three artichoke textures; roasted, raw and crispy, and on top of all this, a fried egg with the typical mass of the calamari a la romana. The white has to be curdled and the yolk is raw. A complicated dish, but with a really surprising result.
Why is the local product so important to you?
First of all for the quality, there is nothing better than a fresh vegetable taken directly from the garden. Later, for contributing to value the work of the farmer. They are the true heroes. It is a job that can not be lost. For sustainability There are no transports, nor commercial speculation. We must pay them the right price so they can continue to move forward, which large stores do not do.
3 ingredients that can never miss in your kitchen?
Love, passion and tradition.
How would you describe the kitchen of Marimorena restaurant?
The kitchen of Marimorena tries to be the maximum of honest, easy to identify and that everyone can afford it. You can eat on weekdays for 16.50 a daily menu that we offer with six first and six seconds, to choose. The menu that we always offer and the tasting menu we offer on weekends or on request that is usually around 35€.
Which are the star dishes of your menu?
The carpaccio of fried eggs, oxtail stewed with red wine and boneless, squid with butifarra del Perol and especially the thousand ways to prepare the artichoke of Sant Boi.
What do you think of gastronomic blogs?
I like them and I follow many of them. It is a good way to see what other colleagues do and follow the trends, although I state that my way of cooking is not going to change, but you can always apport something new.
What do you think about the current boom in the culinary sector in our country (talent shows, contests, books, TV shows, blogs, etc.)
It is a good way to value our craft, although not all the reality of the kitchen is shown. But if it helps to let the client know a little more about what is behind a restaurant, welcome.
Have you been in Ibiza?
Yes, I visited Ibiza when i finished my school studies. That was more than twenty years ago and I have not had the opportunity to return as yet but would love to.
Do you know the Ibiza’n cuisine?
Yes, it is a cuisine rich in excellent seafood although not everything is about fish. For example, the sofrit de pagès and desserts such as flaó or greixonera.
Is there an product that would stand out?
I love the Txulla or Royal Nephrops. I think it’s something exceptional.
What Ibizan dishes and restaurants do you know?
The “borrida de rajada” reminds me a lot of the one written in the rapitenca that I ate as a child in the delta del Ebro. The “calderetas” and “suquets”.
I’m not lucky enough to know any restaurant, as I said a long time ago that I’m not going.
Would you open a restaurant in Ibiza? What type of restaurant?
For now, I wouldn’t go far from Sant Boi. But if I had to do it, it would be a product and barbecue restaurant.
A tip for someone who is thinking about dedicating to the kitchen?
Training and patience. A restaurant is a long distance race. Many people think that it is open and start earning money and normally it is not like that. Training must accompany us throughout life.
A dish that you have inherited the homemade recipe and that you use to show off?
The fricandó of my mother. I cover it with fish and lately I make a vegetable with eggplant, moixernons and potato
Your favorite music group?
I like many styles of music. The group that has been with me for more years has been Extremoduro. I also listen to a Balearic group, Ja t’ho dire.