Are you a food obsessive? One of those people who are interested in new restaurants, trying new and different foods or even creating innovative dishes in your own kitchen? If you are, then you have probably heard of molecular gastronomy and how it has shaped the dishes at many Michelin starred restaurants in Spain. But what do you know of Spanish homestyle cooking? This often underrated Spanish cuisine is making a comeback in many of Spain’s hottest restaurants. Which trend do you prefer? On a gourmet food & culinary tour with us, you will be able to experience both Spanish molecular gastronomy restaurants, as well those which are bringing back Spanish homestyle cooking.


What is Spanish molecular gastronomy?

The idea behind molecular gastronomy is further workings on nouvelle cuisine. In Spain, due to the creative forces in kitchens both in Catalonia and the Basque Country, nouvelle cuisine was a culinary movement which gained momentum during the 1970s; moving away from ‘Spanish home style cooking‘ to something more sophisticated and curated when presented on the plate. Molecular gastronomy takes this even further. Molecular gastronomy uses precise science when cooking so that cooking is done with minute scientific precision. Methods used are: focussing on precise temperatures to bring out the best flavour of a food, using liquid nitrogen and enzymes to play with the texture of a food, as well as the sous-vide method; that of sealing food in a plastic-vacuumed bag to ensure perfectly even cooking. As the birth of this style of cooking happened in Spain, it is often known as Spanish molecular gastronomy.

Ferran Adriá in the early days…


Where did Spanish molecular gastronomy begin?

We cannot discuss molecular gastronomy without talking about the Father of Spanish Molecular Gastronomy; Ferran Adrià. Having started work experience at Catalan restaurant elBulli in the 1980s, Adrià became enamored with restaurant life, and was taken on as a chef de partie. Through hard graft, experiences at other fine-dining restaurants and the desire of the staff at elBulli to push their own creativity; six years after Adrià joined the restaurant, elBulli earned its second Michelin star in 1990. Forging ahead with a desire to be creative and inspired, Adrià’s team at elBulli did away with recipe books of any sort, and focussed on creating their own methods and style of cooking. So Spanish molecular gastronomy was born.



The resurgence of Spanish Homestyle cooking

Before the tidal wave of Spanish molecular restaurants began, there was always Spanish homestyle cooking, known to Spaniards as cocina castiza. This way of cooking has always looked at feeding people broadly, seasonally and generally cheaply, as it is more how grandmothers cook. Spanish homestyle cooking tends to focus on local products, prepared in a hearty and simple flavorful way – think of tripe stew, or battered fish, patatas bravas with a special salsa – those sorts of dishes. It is only fair that after more than twenty years of perfecting molecular cuisine, that Spanish chefs are now looking to include aspects of Spanish homestyle cooking aspects back into their kitchens. Michelin-starred chef Dani Garcia is recently quoted to have said that “It’s time to feed people by the thousands, instead of by the hundreds”. Now we are seeing a resurgence of Spanish homestyle cooking with a modern Spanish gastronomy spin.


In which restaurant kitchens can one find Spanish Molecular Gastronomy?

Though elBulli was the first restaurant to showcase molecular gastronomy, other Spanish molecular cuisine chefs include Basque Juan Mari Arzak (of the eponymous Spanish contemporary cuisine restaurant now run by himself and his daughter, Elena), Martín Berasategui, also of Basque origin, and the three Roca brothers behind El Cellar de Can Roca, in Catalonia. Incredibly, when Martín Berasategui began working in his parents’ restaurant in 1976, the Basque Country held no Michelin stars. Eight years later, his parents’ restaurant received the first Michelin star; and today Spanish contemporary cuisine chef Martin Berasategui holds 12 Michelin stars among his seven restaurants.

A dish at Spanish molecular gastronomy restaurant, Arzak

Interestingly, all of the Spanish molecular gastronomy chefs above, were born into families who owned restaurants. It is worth noting that from cocina castiza, Spanish molecular gastronomy was born. Like Martin Berasategui, Juan Mari Arzak took over his parents’ restaurant in 1966 and reinvented the generations of family recipes, turning Spanish homestyle cooking gems into the contemporary cuisine for which he and his daughter are celebrated today.

The Roca brothers too, started in their parents’ traditional neighbourhood eatery before having their restaurant become the best in the world in 2013.



Top restaurants which are bringing Spanish homestyle cooking back into the limelight

It is almost always the Basque Country which leads the way with updating Spanish cuisine, and chef at Mugaritz, Andoni Luis Aduriz, has opened Topa Sukalderia in San Sebastian, which meshes Basque cuisine with Mexican; bringing traditional cooking (albeit with a modern twist) back to the table.

In Valencia Quique Dacosta has opened Llisa Negra which celebrates Spanish homestyle cooking by using an open hearth to create his delicious dishes, bringing a more relaxed and familial atmosphere to this new venture.

Modern Spanish homestyle cooking at Llisa Negra




No matter in which direction your stomach pulls you, whether it’s intrigued at what Spanish molecular gastronomy tastes and looks like, or wanting to experience the hearty and simple flavours of Spanish homestyle cooking; do not hesitate to get in touch and see what kind of Spanish Gastronomy Tour we can create for you! Otherwise we could help you create a gourmet tour of contrasts – glamorous dining at one of the best restaurants in the world one day, and a casual local fare lunch at one of our best hidden spots the next? If you’d prefer a more hands-on food vacation experience, you might like to include a local cooking class, or visit artisan producers of cheese or olive oil, tasting directly on the farm. Whatever type of food tour you are after, we have got it covered for your next customized Spain, Portugal, Italy or France vacation!







Tickets, in Barcelona, Spain, is the current World’s (Joint) Number 42 Restaurant!!

The NEW World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards 2016 will be presented in less than 2 weeks but, in the meantime, we’re looking at how the current Spanish and Portuguese entries (from the 2015 list) have evolved  in the prestigious Restaurant Magazine’s list in our “A la Crème de la Crème” Gourmand Breaks Blog series.

Tickets dish

In 2013 Tickets, by Ferran Adrià’s brother – Albert – was at 77th pace in Restaurant Magazine’s prestigious World’s Best Restaurants List. Tickets then climbed to nº 57 in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants List 2014 and rose again to its current joint Nº42 place (with Boragò, Santiago, Chile), for 2015.

Albert Adrià is also the The current World’s Best Pastry Chef which, sponsored by Cacao Barry, which was the title he was awarded at the World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards 2015.

Will the phenomenon, that is Albert Adrià, take Tickets even higher in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2016? We’ll let you know on the 13th of June …

There are literally thousands of restaurants all over the world – hundreds of thousands! – and acclaimed Restaurant Magazine narrows it down to organize, compile and present, year after year, The World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards and List.

This prestigious list, coming up to its 14th year,  is an annual recollection of the opinions and experiences of over 900 international restaurant industry experts and the ceremony is attended by the world’s finest chefs, international media and the world’s most influential restaurateurs.

This year, 2016, sees the awards ceremony being presented from the United States of America, the first time the ceremony has moved from its beginnings in England, from London!

We’ll keep you updated on the results of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2016  (June 13th 2016 live from New York) but in the meantime over the next couple of weeks we’ll be taking a look at the Spanish (and Portuguese) movers and shakers in our Gourmand Breaks series “A la Crème de la Crème”

We have many fine dining opportunities for you all over Spain and / or Portugal. Any of our sample private Gourmand Breaks Private Food, Wine and Cultural Tours gives you the chance of fine dining – contact us for your personalized quote!.

The World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards and List started in 2002 and each year is organized and compiled by the British “Restaurant” Magazine.

It is an annual recollection of the opinions and experiences of over 900 international restaurant industry experts.  Today, this prestigious list is awaited each year, with baited breath, to find out WHO is considered THE BEST Restaurant in the World!!! Over the last 14 years just 5 restaurants have received the Number 1 spot as Best Restaurant in the World!!  Spain has headed the prestigious Worlds 50 Best Restaurants List 7 times at Number 1, Denmark 4 times, USA twice and the UK once.

worlds best 50The first EVER restaurant to be awarded the prestigious title of World’s Number One Restaurant in the World was in 2002 –  El Bulli, by Spanish born, Catalan, chef  Ferran Adrià.  El Bulli, as a restaurant,  closed its doors in 2011 to transform into a creativity center. El Bulli sat proudly at the top of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants  List, in 2002, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009. Now it is the turn of Spanish born, Catalan Brothers, Joan, Josep and Jordi Roca of El Celler de Can Roca, Girona. First awarded the Number 1 spot in 2013, the Boys are Back for a second time in 2015 – Current World Number One Restaurant!

El Bulli

Here are the World’s Number 1 Restaurants over the years, as awarded by Restaurant Magazine in the World’s Best 50 Awards Ceremonies:

2002: El Bulli – Ferran Adrià – Spain (currently closed)

2003 + 2004: The French Laundry – Thomas Keller – USA (currently, 2015, at Nº 50)

2005: The Fat Duck – Heston Blumenthal – UK (currently, 2015, at Nº 73)

2006, 2007, 2008 + 2009: El Bulli – Ferran Adrià – Spain (currently closed)

2010, 2011 + 2012: Noma – René Redzepi – Denmark (currently, 2015, at Nº 3)

2013: El Celler de Can Roca – Joan, Josep and Jordi Roca – Spain (currently, 2015, at Nº 1)

2014: Noma – René Redzepi – Denmark (currently, 2015, at Nº 3)

2015: El Celler de Can Roca – Joan, Josep and Jordi Roca – Spain

Can Roca

Here are the FULL 2015 RESULTS of the World’s Best Restaurants 2015 from Number 1 – 100, Best Female Chef, Best Pastry Chef, One to Watch, Continetal results etc ..


In 2016 the Worlds 50 Best Restaurants Awards Ceremony will leave it’s home,  in London, and will be presented from New York City. The world ceremony will, for the first time ever, leave the English capital. It will be the first time in 14 years that the Worlds 50 Best Restaurants awards has left the UK.


El Bulli is currently closed and El Celler de Can Roca has a loooooong waiting list that far exceeds it’s capacity, but great restaurants are rife in Spain!! Why not join us on a Private Food, Wine and Culinary Tour of Spain (you could even combine with Portugal) covering foodie Spanish hotspots like San Sebastian, Barcelona, Madrid …. to indulge in some sublime Spanish dining.



Last October, the world famous Spanish chef,  Ferran Adria, graced the cover of Wired magazine and was invited to speak at the Wired 2012 event in London. Now, his full lecture is available to the public for the first time- you can even view it at the bottom of this page! Read more

Spanish Chef Ferran Adrià has unveiled plans to establish BulliPedia – an online culinary bible of modern  cuisine. We are excited to hear that at the Wired 2012 conference in London recently , the chef revealed more details of the project.

According to Eater, The BulliPedia website is finally live and in two months chefs Grant Achatz, Heston Blumenthal and Spanish chef Joan Roca will have access to the site so they can provide feedback. Described as the ”world’s first culinary Wiki,” the BulliPedia is still being developed. ”The goal is to have the site totally up and running by the end of 2014,”  Adria told Eater. Read more

How many people we wonder would love to cook like famed Spanish Chef Ferran Adria, but really wouldn’t dare.   Now comes your opportunity with a new Cookery Book just published, The Family Meal: Home Cooking with Ferran Adria. Read more

Spanish chef, Jose Andres, the man credited with popularizing our famous Spanish food in the USA was named the nation’s most outstanding chef last Monday during the James Beard Foundation’s annual awards ceremony, the so-called Oscars of the culinary crowd. Spanish chef, Andrés, whose company, the Think Food Group, runs a string of popular restaurants in Washington, Los Angeles and Las Vegas, beat fellow chefs Gary Danko, Suzanne Goin, Paul Kahan and Charles Phan to win the prestigious accolade.

Read more


Spanish chef, Ferran Adrià,  this week assembled some of the best chefs of the world, Joan Roca, Juan Mari Arzak and Pedro Subijana at his restaurant El Bulli in Roses, Spain,  for what has become an annual meeting of the great! Read more

Last week, we made a short visit to 41º Cocktail bar in Barcelona, Spain, owned by Spanish chefs, Ferran & Albert Adria.   41º is a very singular place, a classic Cocktail Bar but with a unique and very creative gastronomy – here the creativity has no limits!    The entrance to Ferran Adria 41º Cocktail Bar, which is situated on the Parallel in Barcelona, is discreet and gives the suggestion that it is a private club, but behind this somewhat austere and secretive façade we discovered a tiny bar with masses of personality. Read more

This Wednesday, the 12th January El Bulli restaurant in Spain will open for its last season.    Until the 30th of July every single session with be “a goodbye”.   However, THE SHOW GOES ON!   El Bulli-s new restaurant Tickets, in Barcelona is just about to start its own history – will it become as famous as El Bulli?   What is Tickets, anyway?   Tickets is the hyper-tapas bar/restaurant at 164 Avenida del Paral.lel in Barcelona, in the midst of the theatre district, just about to be open in February.  Read more