Walk through the kitchens of a leader. One thing that the cooking brands have in common is that they started their careers in superstar kitchens, people like Arzak, Subijana, Adriá, Berasategui… Arola for example parted ways with Adrià in 1995, as did Aduriz, whose restaurant Mugaritz opened in 2008 Ranked fourth best in the world by Restaurant Magazine.
Get your recommendation. Passing through these gastronomic engineering factories not only allows them to learn how to cook, but also to interact and sell themselves. It is important that the host chef takes notice of them and becomes their best man and uses their influence to give the young hopefuls a boost. Arzak admits that they give me “different suggestions for restaurants” every year. Since they cannot cover all of them, they pass them on to their student.
A classy place. It’s convenient to start before 30. Sandoval started his own menu at his parents’ restaurant when he was 25, Aduriz opened Mugaritz when he was 27 or 28. And Adriá took over El Bulli when he was 27. Three years earlier he was already his chef de cuisine. More importantly, they do it in a place with ambition. A chef who wants Michelin stars needs a stage to match. A traditional farmhouse or a farmhouse with lots of space.
Are you looking for an innovative and spectacular style. Cooking like the gods isn’t enough either. You need to impress and convince yourself that yours is unique and unrepeatable. Put on a show in the kitchen and at the table. This is what Adrià has achieved and what his students are looking for. Adrià herself doesn’t stop shocking. At BCNVanguardia in Barcelona in 2007, his team launched such atypical ingredients as mackerel seeds, tuna pulp and black garlic. And Berasategui presented himself with the “citrus pit”, which he explained to those present, which came from a tropical undergrowth in Australia.
Open a workshop or laboratory. This urge for novelty, conforming to the most elementary rules of marketing, makes setting up a workshop (more media-focused than anything else) an inevitable step. There is no self-respecting chef who does not have a laboratory like Adrià’s, where he tests new dishes, flavors, textures and even products. Sandoval, one of the most recent burglars, founded Dream Food, which he explains is “an idea hub where there are chefs, nutritionists and journalists”.
Win prizes and, if possible, Michelin stars. Here it is important to get hold of at least one of the valuable Michelin stars. The award is invoked by editors of the French, British or American gourmet press. What Spanish critic would dare confront a chef who is touched by the aura of the famous French leader?
Cultivate the press. Then come visits from journalists, appearances in the press, invitations to take part in a conference. You have to be in the spotlight. Present books, go on TV. When Californian scientist and writer Harold McGee decided to launch his book Cooking and Food, considered the bible of gastronomy, in Spain, he chose Mugaritz de Aduriz. The one who also chose to write the prologue. Information about the crime appeared in hundreds of media around the world.
write books Books are fundamental, they give money (they’re usually expensive), and they create brand image. El Bulli’s collection of works, which includes his entire cookbook from 1983 to 2005, has been published in Spanish, Catalan, English, French, German and even Japanese. Arzak, who inherited the restaurant from his parents, does not shy away from books either. Aduriz gets academic. He publishes works on the border between gastronomy, sociology and nutritional science.
go on tv The pioneer was Karlos Arguiñano, inimitable. But Arola, who recognized the importance of the medium two years ago without any complexes, is also a TV fan. He was criticized for appearing on the TV show ‘This Kitchen Is Hell, a prime-time cooking-themed show’ and then asked himself ‘Do you know what 6 million people are watching TV?’ Sandoval also owes part of his popularity to the program he had on Telecinco.
A website, a blog, a spokesperson… Postmodern in their approach, these chefs do not scorn technology. Presented in Catalan or Basque, Spanish, English and French, with all the resources of “Rich Media”, from Flash to videos, their websites are as sophisticated as those of Hermes or Dior. There they present the restaurant, they offer recipes, they give news, they issue press kits, they open links with their secondary brands, they even sell products like Santanaría, which has a section for wines (made by him) and gastronomic products. Blogs are required. Ariola’s is one of the most popular. Larumbe has his too. Of course, most of them have full-time pernsa ministry.