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Catalonia adds 5 new restaurants to its Michelin star list

Catalan cuisine continues to grow in the highest culinary ranks with 5 new restaurants winning their ever-first star and no establishment losing any already awarded star, with the only exception of Can Fabes, which shut down business. This way, the total number of Michelin stars spread across Catalan restaurants reaches 63. The newly acclaimed establishments are ‘41º’ and ‘Tickets’ in Barcelona, run by Albert Adrià, brother of world famous Chef Ferran Adrià, as well as ‘Malena’ (Gimenells, Western Catalonia), ‘L'O’ (Sant Fruitós de Bages, Central Catalonia) and ‘Les Moles’ (Ulldecona, Ebro Delta). However none of the already-starred restaurants of Catalonia received a second or even a third Michelin star, but all have successfully maintained theirs, notably ‘Best restaurant’ in the world ‘El Celler de Can Roca’. The evening was not a perfect one as Jordi Cruz’s ‘Àbac’ failed to receive the third star it was aspiring to.

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21 November 2013 08:17 PM

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ACN / Pau Cortina / Emma Garzi

Bilbao (ACN).- Catalan cuisine continues to consolidate its presence in the highest culinary ranks with 5 new restaurants winning their first star and no establishment losing any already awarded star, with the only exception of Can Fabes, which shut down business. This way, the total number of Michelin stars spread across Catalan restaurants reaches 63. The newly acclaimed establishments are ‘41º’ and ‘Tickets’ in Barcelona, run by Albert Adrià, brother of world famous Chef Ferran Adrià, as well as ‘Malena’ (Gimenells, Western Catalonia), ‘L'O’ (Sant Fruitós de Bages, Central Catalonia) and ‘Les Moles’ (Ulldecona, Ebro Delta). These 5 restaurants received their first ever Michelin star. Furthermore, ‘L'Angle’ and ‘El Gaig’, which had already been awarded one star last year, were counted as newly starred restaurants due to changes in their name or address. From this point of view, Catalan cuisine added 7 new restaurants to its Michelin starred kitchens. While none of the already-starred restaurants of Catalonia received a second or even a third Michelin star, all the 2 or 3 stars establishments have successfully maintained these high standards. The only exception was the famous aforementioned former 3-Michelin-star Can Fabes, which could not recover from the sudden death of its Chef Santi Santamaria in 2011 and was forced to close its doors last spring. The two Catalan restaurants with 3 Michelin stars still are  the ‘El Celler de Can Roca’, run by the 3 Roca brothers - which was named last April Best restaurant in the world, and ‘Sant Pau’, run by Carme Ruscalleda. However, the evening was not a perfect one, as Jordi Cruz’s ‘Àbac’ restaurant failed to receive the third star it was aspiring to, despite many experts believing Barcelona’s establishment would reach the ranking’s top this year. ‘Àbac’ was surpassed by Madrid’s ‘Diverxo’ restaurant and its young chef David Muñoz . This year’s Michelin gala presenting the 2014 red Guide for Spain and Portugal was held at the Guggenheim in Bilbao.


The presentation of the Michelin Spain and Portugal stars for 2014 was held at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, two years after the event was held at San Sebastian, thereby emphasising other regions as last year it was held in Madrid.

This edition leaves Catalonia with 63 Michelin stars, meaning that, in absolute numbers, it has gained 5 more stars since the previous year. But it so happens that two restaurants which had one star last year, ‘L'Angle’ and ‘El Gaig’, have changed addresses or names and so they were listed as newly starred in the prestigious guide. From this point of view, there are 7 newly awarded restaurants in Catalonia this year.

L'Angle’ and ‘El Gaig’ complete the newly starred 2 Albert Adrià restaurants in Barcelona (‘Tickets’ and ‘41º’), the ‘Malena’ in Gimenells (Western Catalonia), the ‘O’ in Sant Fruitós de Bages (Central Catalonia), and ‘Les Moles’, in Ulldecona (Southern Catalonia).

After Ferran Adrià, brother and Chef Albert Adrià also recognised

Chef Albert Adrià’s two Barcelona restaurants, ‘41º’ and ‘Tickets’, were awarded one star each. Like his brother, internationally famous Chef Ferran Adrià, Albert did not study in any cooking academy. He developed his talents in pastry-making while working at his brother’s ‘El Bulli’, which was recognised as the best restaurant in the world on five occasions. The 3-star restaurant eventually closed its doors in 2011 after 28 years of culinary invention in order to be transformed into ‘elBulli Foundation’, which will open its doors next year. Albert Adrià then went on to opening two new restaurants in Barcelona and continued to work in close collaboration with his brother and with a similar approach towards cooking.

Ferran Adrià’s food is characterised by taking a molecular approach towards cooking, transforming, taking apart and recasting typical ingredients into the extraordinary. Called both genius and insanity, El Bulli’s goal was to push the boundaries of modern gastronomy, embracing innovation and tantalising the senses in a spectacle of scientifically precise yet artistically creative food. A few years ago, Ferran Adrià had described his brother Albert as “the most creative chef I have ever known”. And in this year’s addition, the Michelin guide has acknowledged and rewarded such creativity.

Famous former 3-star ‘Can Fabes’ closes its doors

The closure of Santi Santamaria’s ‘Can Fabes’ restaurant, which had three stars to its name for many years, was the only loss registered for Catalan restaurant. It was not due to lack of qualifications however. The famous Chef, who was the first ever Catalan Chef to achieve 3 Michelin stars, suddenly died in February 2011 and his daughter – who inherited the business – finally chose to close the restaurant last spring, after it had already lost one star in 2012.  

In any case, it was not an exceptional edition for Catalan cuisine in the sense that none of the already-starred restaurants received a second or even a third Michelin star (the most hopefuls in such a matter were restaurants ‘Àbac’ and ‘Lasarte’). Nevertheless, it should be noted that all the restaurants in Catalonia which had achieved one, two or three Michelin stars have successfully maintained these high standards.

Best restaurant in the world ‘El Celler de Can Roca’ and others 2-3 stars stay in the highest ranks

Joan Roca, Chef of ‘El Celler de Can Roca’ (Girona, North-eastern Catalonia), explained to ACN that in his opinion “people often forgot” that the stars “are given each new year” and that “holding on to them” demands “a lot of merit”. According to him, maintaining such high standards should also be recognized. Indeed, his restaurant, alongside Chef Carme Ruscalleda’ ‘Sant Pau’, is one the ‘three stars’ restaurant that has sustained its position among the highest Michelin ranks.

Earlier this year, ‘El Celler de Can Roca’ was also deemed best restaurant in the world. The establishment run by the three Roca brothers, Joan, Josep and Jordi, had first been recognized as the world’s second best restaurant, in 2012 and 2011, just after the Danish Noma. Starting out as a family restaurant, the Roca brothers have followed in the steps of Ferran Adrià and his molecular cuisine to develop a whole new approach to cooking, using the five senses and creating true pieces of art. According to Restaurant magazine, ‘El Celler de Can Roca’ offers an “emotional cuisine”, “combining traditional Catalan dishes with innovative techniques”.

Madrid restaurant ‘Diverxo’ reaches the highest culinary ranks

Undoubtedly, last night’s biggest winner was young Chef David Muñoz who runs Madrid restaurant ‘Diverxo’. He was the only one to be awarded a new third Michelin star. On receiving the prestigious distinction, Muñoz announced that he intended to open a new restaurant in London next year. The two other major winners were restaurants ‘El Portal’, in Ezcaray (La Rioja) and M.B, in Guía de Isora (Santa Cruz de Tenerife), which have both added a second Michelin to their name.  

The recognition of ‘Diverxo’s’ innovative cuisine, led many people to think that the Michelin Guide was “changing trends”.  Among which was Chef Jordi Cruz, the ‘Àbac’ Chef who was hoping to be awarded a third star this year.

The ‘Àbac’ will have 3 stars to its name, mark my words”

Jordi Cruz, who was  “positive” about  the guide’s new approach towards rewarding “singularity ”, did not leave Guggenheim light-hearted last night. “Tonight I’m going to go to bed with sour grapes, but it doesn’t matter, things will start to get interesting again tomorrow” was the honest answer of the disappointed Chef, who is well-known in Spain for his participation in a TV cooking program. However, beyond the “bad aftertaste” felt by Cruz , the Chef has demonstrated his ambition and desire to continue working towards this goal, and has stated quite bluntly: “’Àbac’ will have 3 stars to its name one day, mark my words”.Hide Keyboard

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  • Albert Adrià, who runs 'Tickets' and '41º' restaurants in Barcelona (by G. Sánchez)

  • The Mont Sant Benet's restaurant 'L'O', in Central Catalonia (by L. Fíguls)

  • Xixo Castaño, the chef of the 'Malena' restaurant in Gimenells (by L. Cortés)

  • 'Les Moles' restaurant in Ulldecona, near the Ebro Delta (by J. Marsal)

  • Albert Adrià, who runs 'Tickets' and '41º' restaurants in Barcelona (by G. Sánchez)
  • The Mont Sant Benet's restaurant 'L'O', in Central Catalonia (by L. Fíguls)
  • Xixo Castaño, the chef of the 'Malena' restaurant in Gimenells (by L. Cortés)
  • 'Les Moles' restaurant in Ulldecona, near the Ebro Delta (by J. Marsal)