Michelin Star Chefs Elena Arzak and Fina Puigdevall help the Spanish Pavilion Celebrate the Week of Spain
Jing Daily recently attended a brunch hosted by the Spanish Pavilion restaurant Acqua (previously), featuring Michelin Star chefs Elena Arzak and Fina Puigdevall. While they are certainly premier Spanish chefs, they are also two of the world’s top female chefs, with Elena Arzak being one of the few women to hold 3 Michelin stars for her restaurant Arzak.
Each brings to China new conceptual ideas, with Elena experimenting with Chinese elements and Fina reinterpreting traditional Spanish dishes using locally sourced ingredients. The event featured a brief presentation by the two chefs and a fusion-inspired menu, including red shrimp with fried vermicelli, mimosa eggs with tuna-oil hollandaise, potatoes in roasted vegetable juice, and a dessert of peach “yolks” in cinnamon soup.
As ambassadors for Spanish gastronomy, the two set a high bar and presented an innovative menu, impressing the 50 or so journalists and other guests present. The Chinese and international media has been singing high praises for the Spanish Pavilion’s star-studded gastronomic agenda, and 23 of the 49 combined Michelin stars that the Spanish Pavilion chefs can lay claim to are yet to come.
The Spaniards will continue to expose Shanghai to Spain’s culinary delights, including the highly anticipated Tapas week scheduled for the end of October.
About Elena Arzak and Fina Puigdevall
Michelin 3-star chef Elena comes from a cooking background, as the daughter of culinary master Juan Maria Arzak; she is a fourth-generation chef. Though experimental in her approach to cuisine, she was well-chosen for the Shanghai Expo, as she has a constantly evolving style and has a respect for the variety and flavors of Chinese cuisine. She cites The Heritage of Chinese Cooking by Elizabeth Chong as an inspiration, particularly for its Chinese broths, sauces, and vegetable preparations.
Fina is a Michelin 2-star chef and a Medal of Merit winner. Her restaurant, Mas Les Cols, is within a national park and is praised for its sustainability, using only local and seasonal foods. In addition to her restaurant, she also runs a small vineyard, because she feels wine is closely tied into the experience of food. Aside from Spanish cuisine, she also loves Japanese cuisine, and though it is the first visit to China for the two chefs, they both hope to bring something new to the culinary experiences of Shanghai.