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By family heritage. My grandparents founded Restaurante Coque and my parents followed on from them. As the next generation, my brothers and I then took over the project, which we wanted to modernize and enhance. I know that I was predestined to be a chef. It was a calling. Every single day, I find the same pleasure in my work, be it at the Coque, Hotel Orfila, or any of the other projects in which I participate.
We are inspired by traditions, memories and tastes from our pasts, which we take to their limits using modern techniques. One day someone called me an archaeologist of flavors, and I think that fits me quite well. I know that gastronomy isn’t just about cooking and eating. I consider it important to know where the ingredients that we use come from and how they have gotten to us. I like to do my work with a clear conscience. And always cook to bring out the taste and nothing but the taste. That said, I let my customers decide how to describe my cuisine.
My answer has to be: cochinillo (suckling pig). It has always been a specialty in my family. In our restaurant Humanes (not far from Madrid), we had a special oven where we prepared suckling pig just like my grandparents and parents used to. We had a practically identical oven built in our restaurant in Madrid. That is why our suckling pig is exceptional, in terms of its texture and preparation, as well as the breed of pig that we use – Pietrain pigs crossed with Duroc, raised by specialist farms. We currently have a confit of cochinillo on a terrine of smoked and marinated vegetables on the menu at Hotel Orfila.
I won't give you a recipe. I’ll just give you one piece of advice: eat and cook with your children, if you have any. Tell them what they are eating, teach them how to cook and communicate the passion and joy that it gives you. I personally think that the best dish is a good, well seasoned tomato salad, with a splash of oil and some quality ham. That's what I make for myself at home on Sundays when I'm not eating at a colleague's restaurant.