Author(s): SUIJANA PEDRO
After nearly forty years, Pedro Subijana, the three star Michelin chef and his world-famous restaurant, Akelare, is at the forefront of the New Basque Cuisine, championed in the 70s by Juan Mari Arzak. In the words of Subijana, 'New Basque Cuisine aims to focus on seasonal products but adding a large dose of imagination and pushing back the frontiers'. Above all, he says, 'Throughout the meal, we take care of every last detail to ensure that the occasion is a memorable one'. His restaurant Akelare (a Basque word that has entered the Spanish language, meaning a coven of witches) is in a spectacular location on the slopes of the Monte Igueldo, one of the symbols of the beautiful city of San Sebastian, and looks over the Bay of Biscay; it has got to be one of the most special places for a meal anywhere in the worldHere in this visually stunning production you will find some of the culinary creations of Pedro Subijana from the last ten years and you will find excellence, innovation and the avant garde, three terms that could define Akelare's style, as well as an insight into the work of the kitchen and its extensive team.
Surely there is no-one who would deny that Pedro Subijana is one of the greatest Spanish chefs of all time. His career leaves little room for doubt. He was employed from a very young age in the restaurant he remains in today, his beloved Akelare in San Sebastian. He has transformed Akelare into a temple of great cooking, known to gourmets and humble enthusiasts alike. These visitors come to enjoy Pedro's craft but also to have the pleasure of meeting him, because Subijana is not just a great chef, he is also well-loved, endearing, down-to-earth and friendly. Shortly after joining Akelare, Pedro was involved in the birth of what was christened 'new Basque cuisine'. A direct descendent of the buoyant nouvelle cuisine style, it was cleverly adapted to the tastes and customs in San Sebastian. Cooking suddenly became modern. One of his recipes, sea bass with green peppers, became one of the most iconic dishes of this new approach. Gastronomes began making pilgrimages from all over Spain to San Sebastian in search of this new way of cooking, where respect for raw ingredients was key. Pedro began to receive awards, recognition. His first Michelin star came in 1979 and was followed quickly, in 1983, by his second. They made him wait for his third but it finally arrived in 2007. Pedro's food is perfectly balanced. He doesn't shy away from new techniques or research, which produces new dishes each season, but neither has he abandoned the classic flavours, the dishes for which Basque cuisine and San Sebastian are famous. Pedro no longer cooks the now-classic nouvelle cuisine, rather he ventures forth, with care, along the cutting-edge, while continuing to delight his fans with dishes like his incomparable 'squid in ink'. This is what you call balance; this is what you call cooking. And this is precisely what is served every day by the great cook and wonderful human being that is Pedro Subijana.