Michelin star under 30 years old: the new generation knocking on the kitchen door | Gastronomy


Weeks before it is released, many foodies begin to speculate about restaurants that may (or deserve) earn a Michelin star, but the French guide’s makers are always very secretive. The only thing they leaked this year, in fact, was that they had spotted a lot of young talent. In many cases, in addition, outside the big capitals.

The big headlines, as expected, have been taken by the restaurants that have achieved the second star: Smoked Room, Voro, Amelia and Iván Cerdeño. But in the Michelin Guide 2022, indeed, a good number of chefs and (to a lesser extent) young cooks have also entered. Some, like Vicky Sevilla (29) or Alejandro Serrano (24), have not yet reached 30 and are already in the elite.

Vicky Sevilla, chef and owner of Arrels (Sagunt, València), opened the restaurant 4 years ago and has been accumulating awards for some time. Located in an old stables from the 16th century and with a capacity for no more than 25 people, at the beginning of this year it obtained a sun from the Repsol Guide. But he doesn’t quite believe it.

“I’ve thought about my family, my wife, my team … and I’m still hallucinating,” he said minutes after dressing, for the first time, with the jacket that the winners of the precious star collect.

Referential women

The chef explains that she did not want to dedicate herself to cooking. That, in fact, he got in at 17 by chance and because of a friend. But it didn’t take him long to discover that he was good at it because, before opening his restaurant, at just 25 years old, he had already passed through three of the best kitchens in the Region: La Salita, Saiti, La Finca de Elche. Two of them, in addition, led by women (Begoña Rodrigo and Susi Díaz).

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“I do a cuisine of territory and author. Arrels means ‘roots’ because that is what I wanted: to go home,” he explains. “We have two tasting menus, 65 and 85 euros. We are surrounded by orchards and near the sea, so we make a lot of vegetable and fish dishes. We try to nourish ourselves from that.”

The snail plate without snails: a snail ‘preñao’ bun with dipping sauce. / ARRELS

Among its dishes, in fact, highlights una version of paved vallero, typical dish of Vall D’Uixó, the town of his grandmother, and also a plate of “snails without snails” which, in reality, is the reinterpretation of a plate from his mother.

“There are still few women because we joined the world of work late, but I think that equalization is a matter of time. The pandemic has not helped, but we are marking a path. There is a lot of talent in the Community.”

The youngest chef with a Michelin star

Alejandro Serrano is, at 24, the youngest Michelin-starred chef in Spain. His restaurant (namesake), which highlights, above all, fish and seafood dishes, has been open for two and a half years. But the coast, curiously, is far away. His town, Miranda de Ebro, is an old industrial center located at a crossroads between Castilla y León, Euskadi and La Rioja … 100 kilometers from the sea.

“My parents have a restaurant on the outskirts of Miranda (Alejandro) and they have always been there. They have helped me a lot!”, He explains. “In our menu we do not have any meat. We call ourselves the sea of ​​Castile because we make fish or seafood dishes with traditional Castilian recipes and because we also link a lot with the sea when it comes to serving. It is what I feel most at ease with. taste”.

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Serrano has never lived on the coast, but he has won two important gastronomic competitions: the Red Shrimp from Dènia and the Balfegó Red Tuna. “That marked me a lot,” he acknowledges.

“I think the best dish in the restaurant is that of the red prawn contest: a liquid ravioli with the essence of prawns and a tartare seasoned with lemon and fried head. I always remember the grilled shrimp stew that my grandmother used to make. It’s a souvenir bite, totally. “

The young chef, who cites Eneko Atxa and David Muñoz as references, started cooking when he was 15 years old and at the beginning —How could it be otherwise— he was surrounded of people older than him, but over time he has formed a team made up of even younger cooks. “I realized that they have more concern. The same thing happens at Mirandés, they are all young kids.”

Serrano is ambitious. He says that the star is “only the beginning” and dreams that Miranda de Ebro, after having lost its industrial power, can evolve towards a green economy. But he does not miss more women with a star: “I believe in effort and dedication. I believe in people regardless of whether they are a man or a woman. In fact, I was in the 2020 Revelation Cook Contest and I felt unworthy for being man. It was kinda weird. “


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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