Daniel Garcia and his fusion of Basque cuisine
From the world-renowned culinary destination of Basque cuisine, Bilbao, Chef Garcia is one of the best chefs in Spain. He opened his first restaurant in 1975, and Chef Garcia now has three restaurants in Bilbao and one in New York. Zorzitko is the most successful restaurant, occupying a 19th century mansion within walking distance of the Guggenheim Museum. The restaurant offers a selection of 600 wines alongside an inventive menu. The restaurant gained a Michelin star and two Suns from the Repsol Guide and a score of 9.25/10 in the Gourmet Guide. In 2005, Chef Garcia decided to pass his knowledge of Basque cuisine to a new generation and launched the Daniel Garcia's Cuisine School.
Chef Daniel Garcia (L) and Chef Fernando Sainz de la Maza
Whether a reflection of the past or a departure from it, Basque cuisine is based on the sea and the mountains. The mountainous nature of the Basque region has led to a difference between coastal cuisine dominated by fish and seafood, and inland cuisine with fresh and cured meats, vegetables and legumes, and freshwater fish and salt cod. The French and Spanish influence is strong, with a noted difference between the cuisines of either side of the modern border.
In the Basque region, chefs do not overly elaborate their presentations; the concept of Basque cuisine is straightforward food at its very best, with little or no spice.
"Cooking is sometimes like being a matador in a bullfight," said Chef Garcia. "Some ingredients, such as fresh oyster, are already perfect. How do you add imagination to that without destroying it? You have to do it delicately. But an onion, you need to subjugate it like a bull, because if you leave it on its own, it will kill everything else under its power." Arguably, Chef Garcia is one of the top chefs in Spain specialised in the fusion of Basque cuisine. He has his own style based on the product, taste, technique, thought and sensations. His signature appetiser – whipped foie gras layered with caramelised pear and a gelée of young Rioja grapes topped with Maldon salt – illustrates his unpretentious yet imaginative style.
"This is a great adventure and a great opportunity," said Chef Garcia when speaking about his expectation of this gastronomy journey in China. "It is a kitchen that works with a variety of products, which is more open than us. This is another attraction, new products, new ideas."
Fernando Sainz de la Maza and his creative cuisine
Born in Solórzano in northern Spain, Chef Sainz has developed a creative and flavourful Basque fusion cuisine. As a talented apprentice, Chef Sainz worked at Zortziko with Chef Garcia for two years, and then returned to his homeland to open his first restaurant, El Serbal, in Puetro Chico, next to the Cantabrian Sea. This region offers a highly select, fresh range of food, including fine fish and shellfish from the wild sea; salmon and trout from its rivers; vegetables and pulses from its small area of arable land; beef from cattle fed on natural pastures; and fruit from its valleys. Chef Sainz takes advantage of the region's fresh products and combines these with a playful and elegant cooking style. El Serbal restaurant received a Michelin star four years after it was opened, and his second restaurant, El Nuevo Molino, also has a Michelin star.
"For me, cooking in China is a magical experience. I am proud to show my cuisine in a country with a different culture and such an exciting gastronomy. I am sure that I will learn a lot," said Chef Sainz.
Private Dining at il Forno
Guests can enjoy the essence of Basque cooking at il Forno, where Chef Garcia and Chef Sainz present their prize winning formula of old and new open tapas cooking and dashing Spanish classics with a modern flair. The chefs showcase their signature dishes and new creations with Guangzhou local seafood as the main ingredient.
"Spanish Gourmet Genuine Taste with Michelin Chefs" is offering private dinner from 11 to 14 May 2011. Prior reservation is required. For enquiries or reservations, please call (86 20) 8917 6498 or e-mail email@example.com.
Pan Fried Tiger Prawn "Hamburger"
Pan Fried Squid with Anise Oil Tomato
Fresh Scallops baked with essence of mushroom coated potatoes
Lobster Broth served with Papaya (Cold)
Strawberry in Sweet Black Vinaigrette Sauce with Caramelized Cheese Pistachio Ice Cream