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These are the names that sound the most for Michelin star this year


Highlights: This Tuesday, the long-awaited Michelin stars Spain 2024 will be awarded at the Auditori Fòrum of the Barcelona International Convention Centre. Noor, in Cordoba, and Skina, in Marbella, are the candidates that sound the most like three-starred winners. For the first time the awards will not be given to Portugal, as they will have their own gala. This year there will be two new restaurants that will climb the Michelin gastronomic Olympus.

On Tuesday, the red guide gala is held in Barcelona and, as every year, there are betting pools on the star-studded ones: Noor, in Cordoba, and Skina, in Marbella, are the candidates that sound the most like three-starred winners

For a few days now, the phones of Spanish chefs have been ringing non-stop. They take all calls, even those they receive thousands of miles away. No wonder. This Tuesday, the long-awaited Michelin stars Spain 2024 will be awarded at the Auditori Fòrum of the Barcelona International Convention Centre (CCIB). This year the buzz is greater. Those responsible for the red guide have decided to shield, in an extreme way, the final verdict of the inspectors, who for a year have been tracking and evaluating the possible candidates to obtain the aforementioned distinction. They receive an invitation, in some cases just to attend the gala, Michelin warns – as is the case of the chefs who, for example, cooked at the ceremony of the previous edition. And in others it is specified that the pass is for two people. That's where the speculation begins. E-mail traffic over the past week has been, and still is, intense.

The pools, as if it were the Oscars of Hollywood, are there. In this edition, in which for the first time the awards will not be given to Portugal, as they will have their own gala, what is most talked about in every conversation between chefs, journalists and fans is that this year there will be two new restaurants that will climb the Michelin gastronomic Olympus, of which 13 three-starred restaurants are already part: Arzak (San Sebastián, Gipuzkoa); Lasarte (Barcelona); Martín Berasategui (Lasarte-Oria, Gipuzkoa); El Celler de Can Roca (Girona); ABaC (Barcelona); Cenador de Amós (Villaverde de Pontones, Cantabria); Akelarre (San Sebastián, Gipuzkoa); Aponiente (El Puerto de Santa María, Cádiz); Quique Dacosta (Dénia, Alicante); DiverXO (Madrid), Azurmendi (Larrabetzu, Bizkaia), Atrio (Cáceres), and Cocina Hermanos Torres (Barcelona).

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The two new additions may be in Andalusia: Noor, the restaurant that chef Paco Morales opened in 2016 in his hometown, Cordoba, and whose kitchen he runs with Paola Gualandi; and Skina, in Marbella, the city where its promoter, Marcos Granda, the Asturian waiter and sommelier, lives, who is accompanied by the 27-year-old chef from Toledo Mario Cachinero. Granda, with five stars to his credit – two in Skina, another in Nintai (both in Marbella), another in Clos (Madrid), and also in Ayalga (Ribadesella, Asturias) – is aiming to score a hat trick (three goals), as this year he has opened two new locations. In February, he opened Marcos, in Gijón (Asturias), with Marcos Mistry, head of R+D of the group, where he makes a nod to the traditional cuisine of the region's stews – at the opening the price of the Mediodía menu was 79 euros, now it is 99 euros, and the proposal Vuelta a lo esencial was 119 euros and now it is 129 euros.

And in April, Granda opened the Japanese restaurant TOKI, in Madrid. Precisely, this concept fits, according to Michelin, one of the trends of the 2024 guide, "such as Japanese cuisine, in small restaurants with minimum capacity, bar and omakase menus". Granda's restaurant meets all these requirements: it has a bar with capacity for six diners, with a menu called Aki No Omakase, at a current price of 180 euros – when it opened seven months ago the rate was different: 109 euros at lunchtime, and 139 euros at night.

There is also talk of other candidates for three stars – in this edition there are 34 establishments with double distinction, firm contenders to win the highest award – such as Disfrutar Barcelona, with Oriol Castro, Eduard Xatruch and Mateu Casañas; Ricard Camarena, in Valencia; Miramar, by Paco Pérez, in Llança (Girona), Smoked Room, by Dani García, in Madrid; and Paco Roncero, also in Madrid. Or the surprise can also be in Deesa, the two-Michelin-starred hotel of the Mandarin Oriental Ritz Hotel, which is advised by the chef from Extremadura, based in Dénia (Alicante), Quique Dacosta. This restaurant has had a meteoric rise to stardom, according to the chef's roadmap: it opened in the spring of 2021, got the first star that same year, and last year, after dispensing with its head chef, Ricard Tobella, it obtained the second.

Among the anecdotes, and in case you can give any clue: since 2010, the year in which Michelin began to present the stars in a festive ceremony – in that edition they were received by El Celler de Can Roca at the Mercado de San Miguel in Madrid – the grand prize has never fallen in the city where the gala was held. There can always be a first time.

The Dance of the Two Stars

Where the dance is greatest is in the two-star category: Michelin has 200 restaurants – after removing Zuberoa, which closed at the end of last year, Trivio, which closed in February of this year, and Arbidel, in Ribadesella, which has just ceased its activity – aspirants with one star. Gourmets take it for granted that this year Albert Adrià will return to the stage to collect the second star for Enigma – he already did it in November last year, when he got the first, after the reopening of the venue in June last year. Having just arrived from Mérida (Yucatan, Mexico), where he was chosen as the second best chef in the world in the seventh edition of The Best Chefs Awards, Adrià says he has no news about it. "I have no idea if they're going to give it to us. I would be excited for the 55 workers, for 40 clients, that I have. Wearing the two-star jersey puts you on another level. We have egos, but especially after I've had a hard time, and everything went down the drain, it's a way to prove to myself that I know how to do things." Another stock that is on the rise to achieve the two stars is Venta Moncalvillo, in Daroca de Rioja (La Rioja), directed by Ignacio and Carlos Echapestro, who also have a green distinction.

It is also possible for Michelin to award two Michelin stars to a restaurant in one fell swoop. It happened two years ago, when Smoked Room, the project that had just opened six months ago by the Malaga chef Dani García, together with his partner Javier Gutiérrez, in Madrid, entered directly into the group of two-starred chefs. The guide's decision came as a surprise because in 2018, García, 22 days after being awarded the third star for the restaurant that bore his name in Marbella, renounced this privilege and announced the closure of the premises.

Martin Berasategui, the Spanish chef with the most Michelin stars, 12 in total, who this Tuesday can get a new distinction for El Club Allard.Javier Hernández

Madrid continues to be a place of reference where everyone wants to be, according to Michelin, as another of this year's trends. Names such as OSA, one of the great openings of the year in the capital, the gastronomic project of chefs Jorge Muñoz and Sara Peral appear in the circles. Also El Club Allard, which tries to recover the glory of yesteryear with Martín Berasategui, who returns to Madrid, after the failed attempt of Etxeco, at the Bless Hotel de Velázquez. Another star that is taken for granted is Desde 1911, the ambitious project launched in November 2021 by Pescaderías Coruñesas, with the chef Diego Murciego and the renowned Abel Valverde in the dining room. They also await her at Cebo, the gastronomic restaurant of the Urban hotel, which already had it with Aurelio Morales and which since last year has been managed by the chefs of Cañitas Maite, Javier Sanz and Juan Sahuquillo. The couple made their debut in the guide last year with their first star at OBA, in Casas-Ibáñez (Albacete). It also sounds, as it has in recent years, Santerra, where Miguel Carretero cooks.

Another point that Michelin drops is the explosion and growth of high-end restaurants in small cities, far from the gastronomic circuits a few years ago. According to rumours, this section includes the Barro restaurant in Ávila, run by the young chef Carlos Casillas; Casas Colgadas, in Cuenca, by Jesús Segura, who already had a star at the Trivio restaurant, which closed this year; NM, by Nacho Manzano, in Oviedo; Radis and Malak, in Jaén, Valdelvira, in Baeza (Jaén), Terra, in Fisterra (A Coruña), the restaurant Amar Barcelona, by Rafa Zafra, or UNIC and Es Tragón, both in Ibiza (although these two can receive it in the green star category). In Asturias, there is another strong candidate in the circles, the restaurant Eleonore, in the surfing town of Salinas. In Miranda de Ebro, Alberto Molinero's restaurant, Erre de Roca; in Puerto de Santamaría (Cádiz) it would fall to Tohqa, in Marbella (Málaga) it would also be received by Back, and in Mallorca it would be recovered, after the change of premises, by Andreu Genestra.

All these doubts will be cleared up on Tuesday at a gala, which will be presented by Andreu Buenafuente, in which, once the awards ceremony is over, several renowned chefs from Barcelona will serve a cocktail for the guests: for example, Albert Adriá will prepare a cheese and truffle dandino, and a crunchy chocolate and yuzu cake; the chefs of Disfrutar will prepare a tomato polvorón, and a freeze-dried calçot, and the Torres brothers, a cured squid tartare with poultry consommé and caviar, and the first florada of Maresme peas with ham sauce and Iberian bacon.

It will be a night of joy for many and disappointment for others. Because discussed or not, stars generate expectation not only among chefs and their teams. Also among customers. "When you get it, the phone and the bookings skyrocket. It's good for everybody," says one of the chefs, who hopes he'll get something this year. The hard part is to maintain interest after a few months and make the star's brightness stick.

[EL PAÍS will broadcast live the gala to be held in Barcelona next Tuesday, November 28, starting at 18:00 p.m.]

You can follow EL PAÍS Gastro on Instagram and X.

Source: elparis

All news articles on 2023-11-27

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