David de Jorge: “French cuisine taught us how to be modern”


Elena Arzak, Hilario Arbelaitz and David de Jorge pay tribute to France: “It’s the country we have looked at in admiration and where we have travelled to learn”. 

Pierre Gagnaire, a legend in world cuisine and one of the most influential chefs of the last 25 years, asked the question from a video: Why don’t Spanish chefs come to France to train anymore? On stage, three -four, because the moderator, Toni Massanés, director of Fundación Alícia, also travelled to France to learn- chefs who have experienced and trained in our neighbouring country: Elena Arzak (chef in Arzak, Hilario Arbelaitz (chef in Zuberoa) and David de Jorge (chef and manager in Martín Berasategui).

“It’s difficult to know why”, contributed Arzak. “Perhaps, because the conditions have changed and it is not that easy to go as an apprentice?”, she asked. Gagnaire, recorded, seemed to answer: “I understand that Spain has good products and a good quality of life, but so does Italy and they do come”. The mystery continued. Massanés questioned whether it was a case of “killing the father”, after so many years of influence and one-way learning.

Elena retorted: “Neither are there many French students doing internships here. We are starting to see some now, but there are few”. The doubt continued to linger. “What we do know is that France has trained generations of Spanish chefs for many years, and we have looked at our neighbouring country with admiration and where we have travelled to learn”, remarked the chef of Zuberoa. The three agreed on this point. “In France I learnt about organisation in the kitchen”, explained Elena Arzak.

Arbelaitza continued: “I went to France because I wanted to see how a kitchen operated and was impressed by their organisation and way of working. That is the French culture that has transcended and taught us all” De Jorge rounded off: “French cuisine, with foie-gras as an exponent, has been the fuse that has ignited and taught us to be modern”.

There wasn’t an answer to the question. Massanés seized the opportunity to enquire about the products, techniques and French ideas that the three speakers would advise young students to not miss. 

Elena Arzak: “Their sauces, juices, demi-glace, the knowhow they have when adding the exact amount of wine into sauces. And their croissants and macaroons”. 

David de Jorge: “Chicken in pig bladder, and visit Michel Guerard, who is still around, and ask him for his classic dishes, such as bechamel marquis”. 

Hilario Arbelaitz: “Oyster, scallops, game dishes. And champagne. Oh my, they have everything! And, in addition, they know how to take very good care of their regional cuisines”.






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