Text: Virginia Servera.
Martín Berasategui, who’s earned more Michelin stars than any other Spanish chef, arrives in Mallorca with various gastronomic projects which will soon see the light of day.
Recently, the first Spanish restaurant to achieve three Michelin stars has closed. Is it very daring to open restaurants in these times?
That’s how it is, unfortunately, a shame for everyone not to be able to return to a restaurant like Zalacaín, like Santceloni and many others. A drama for the Spanish hospitality industry. Hopefully the COVID times will end soon and many restaurants can open and reopen.
When will El Txoko de Martín and Hit open its doors?
The COVID crisis has slowed down everything, let’s hope that El Txoko de Martín can be inaugurated in the first months of 2021 and Hit a little later. The Txoko de Martín will be located in Santa Catalina and will offer a quality experience adapted to all budgets. For its part, Hit, a project of 30,000 square meters, will provide different spaces for shows and celebrations of all kinds, all of them accompanied by various gastronomic proposals.
What score do you put on the island’s gastronomic offer?
It is an island that has a very varied shopping basket and that has been able to give a lot of value to its products. Besides sobrasada and cheeses, Mallorca has, for example, some wonderful lambs, as well as everything that comes from the sea.
45 years in the kitchen provide endless anecdotes. Anything worth remembering?
So many and so many… If I had painted my life it would not have turned out so beautiful. The biggest triumph is that I am a loony at what I do and I like nothing more than cooking. My work together with my family is the best thing that has happened to me in life and thanks to it, I have managed to gather some teams that have also become my family. This is priceless. If I were to be born again a thousand times, I would like to repeat the same journey. I can’t believe it. I’m lucky.
What has led you to get 12 Michelin stars?
The constant search for excellence and nonconformity. My secret to staying alert and excited is to keep cooking for my clients, cooking whatever may come. I keep tying my apron around my waist every morning with the same enthusiasm as always, although if I’m honest, I have more desire and ‘garrote’ today with sixty years than when I was a kid and I was lost in the streets of the old part of Donostia.
Who were your teachers?
My relatives first; especially, my parents and my aunt, and both in France and Spain, all my colleagues who have gone ahead of me by age. In France, I think that what stuck with me the most was the precision with which French pastry chefs worked. To them I owe a large part of what I am today as a cook; that exactitude is what I have applied to my kitchen since the beginning.
How would you like to be remembered the day you retire?
Like an authentic gentleman.