I learnt my craft growing up in a family of farmers and shopkeepers whose values were based on the importance of high-quality work and ingredients, and those values are still with me today. When I decided to open the Sant Pau, I did it because of my determination to use top-quality ingredients and combine them creatively. These are the values that have underpinned my husband Toni Balam's and my work since the day we opened. Working rigorously and respectfully has enabled us to achieve our most important objectives. My cooking is inspired by Catalan recipes based on ingredients from the Maresme region. I try to cook modern, creative Catalan dishes.
I tasted this wonderful fish for the first time 10 years ago on the French Riviera. I still clearly remember its flesh, which is both firm and very delicate.
I always buy my sea bass from one of my suppliers at the Tsukiji market, specifying my preferences depending on the menu of the day.
I love a Japanese sea bass called Hira-suzuki that is only caught in winter. Its delicacy and the fat content of its flesh are quite similar to the sea bass that is eaten in France. I grill it with a trickle of olive oil to allow its skin to become crispy. I might also wrap it in a fig leaf and bake it in the oven. When the raw fish arrives, I always try to decide how it should be cooked rather than how I would prefer to cook it…