When we talk about Basque cuisine, it cannot pass without talking about Akelare. Having the reigns over this Michelin starred gastronomic destination for over 40 years is the dynamic Chef Pedro Subijana. Chef Pedro was one of the highlighted speakers in this year’s Madrid Fusion Manila where he showcased some of his amazing dishes he serves in Akelare.
Philippine Tatler got to have a quick interview with Chef Pedro Subijana and pick his brain on his advice for aspiring chefs:
"Really be sure [that] you want to be that"
Chef Pedro, initially, was going to study medicine, but was called to the culinary scene. Following his passion, he continued to study hospitality and culinary courses in Madrid and Zarauz. More than four decades later, he still continues to create culinary marvels that have earned him multiple accolades in the culinary scene.
"Don’t be shy"
No stranger to the limelight, Chef Pedro starred in the Basque television program “The Gastronomy of Pedro Subijana,” which aired in the 90’s. He continued sharing recipes and stories through a series of publications including Cocina facil con Pedro Subijana published in 2005. In fact, he shares that his children learned to cook through his books.
"Try to learn everyday until the day you die. Have a lot of curiosity!"
As a speaker at this year’s Madrid Fusion Manila, he shared the history and evolution of Basque cuisine through the perspective of running Akelare for decades. While his wealth of experience and training could be said to be at its peak, he continually tries to learn from the different techniques and ingredients he comes across from his travels.
"[Develop] a lot of discipline in the kitchen"
Akelare earned its first Michelin star in 1978 and its second in 1982. It sustained its standing as one of the top restaurants in the world. Yet, they did not rest on their laurels. They continued to improve and develop the restaurant’s menu and services, earning them their third star in 2007 – a true testament of the dedication and hard work in the kitchen by Chef Pedro and his team.
"[Do] a lot of cleaning up"
A trademark of all great chefs is their cleanliness. Though he may not have pursued his initial plans of going into medicine, his kitchen is pristine and his tools, precise. After all, the kitchen is chef's equivalent of a surgery room.
Akelare is located at Padre Orcolaga, 56 (Igeldo), 20008 San Sebastián, Spain. For more information about Chef Pedro Subijana or Akelare, visit www.akelarre.net.