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36. Gerry Dawes's Spain: An Insider's Guide to Spanish Food, Wine, Culture and Travel

"My good friend Gerry Dawes, the unbridled Spanish food and wine enthusiast cum expert whose writing, photography, and countless crisscrossings of the peninsula have done the most to introduce Americans—and especially American food professionals—to my country's culinary life. . .” - - Chef-restaurateur-humanitarian José Andrés, Nobel Peace Prize Nominee and Oscar Presenter 2019; Chef-partner of Mercado Little Spain at Hudson Yards, New York 2019


Gerry Dawes: Biography & Credits


". . . Gerry Dawes, the gastronomy/travel writer known for good reasons in wine and periodical circles as ‘Mr. Spain." An inexhaustible fund of knowledge on his favorite subject, Dawes, who has joined our masthead as Contributing Authority on Spain, composed this month's apt tribute to Arzak and Adríà on page 112 and has arranged for them to be guests of honor at the James Beard Foundation's November auction dinner in New York City, of which he is chair." - - Michael & Ariane Batterberry, Publishers of Food Arts

Gerry Dawes was born in Alto Pass, Illinois (pop. 398) and lived in Spain for eight years in the sherry country of Cádiz province, in Sevilla, and in Mijas (Málaga). He sold paintings for the late American artist-matador John Fulton in Sevilla and Marbella; apprenticed under Robert Vavra, photographer of James Michener's Iberia; worked as a movie extra in Barcelona on The Great White Hope; ran The Dawes Gallery, a contemporary art gallery in Mijas, and studied Spain's language, history, and culture at the University of Sevilla (in the former Fábrica de Tabaco--made famous as the setting of the opera Carmen). Dawes has a B.A. in Spanish and Creative Writing from State University of New York (SUNY).

Dawes has been cited for his knowledge of Spain in The New York Times and New York Times Magazine, New York Newsday, The Wine Spectator, The James Beard Foundation Newsletter, Food Arts, Men's Journal, The Rosengarten Report and Spain's Deia, El País, Cambio 16, and many other publications.

— Premio Nacional de Gastronomía 2003 (Spanish National Gastronomy Prize): 2003 Marques de Busianos Award from the Academia Española de Gastronomía (Spanish Academy of Gastronomy) & La Cofradia de la Buena Mesa for writing, photography, and lectures about Spanish gastronomy and wines.

— James Beard Foundation Restaurant Awards Judge (1998 - present)

— Amigo de Madrid (Presented by the Mayor of Madrid.)

— Chairman, 17th Annual James Beard Foundation Auction Dinner, Essex House Hotel, New York, Nov. 16, 2003 The Flavors of Spain Honoring Juan Mari Arzak & Ferran Adriá (Broke all existing records by $100,000.)

— Judge, GourmetQuesos Championship Finals, Salón de Gourmets, Madrid, Spain (April, 2004)

— Honoree, Premio Cena de los 11 Vinos, Madrid & Barcelona (Two annual wine dinners in Spain honoring someone distinguished in enhancing the image of Spanish wines.)

— Irmandinho (member), Irmandade de Vinhos Galegos (Brotherhood of Galician Wines)


An avid aficionado of Spanish fiestas and a photographer, Dawes traveled extensively in Spain during the eight years he lived there, putting muchos kilómetros on Rocinante, his Volkswagen sedan. He amassed thousands of color transparencies and a wealth of knowledge about the country, its wine and food, customs and culture. He has published hundreds of wine, food and travel photographs in numerous magazines and has had cover photographs for The Wine Spectator, The Wine News, Wine Enthusiast and others.

Gastronomic & Wine Tours of Spain

Gerry Dawes has led numerous culinary and wine tours to Spain. His clients have included The World Trade Center Club, Club Managers of America Wine Society, Chef Mark Miller and his management team, the mythical 61st Tactical Fighter Squadron and the Commonwealth Club of California.

"I have taken eight trips to Spain, but the best trip was the one Gerry Dawes orchestrated. His love and knowledge of the foods and wines of Spain are intoxicating. His ever present enthusiasm made my Spanish experiences with him memorable." – Mark Miller, author and chef/owner, Coyote Cafe (Santa Fe, New Mexico), winner of the James Beard Foundation's Southwestern Chef of the Year Award.


The Wine News, Food Arts, Decanter, Wine Enthusiast, Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar, Restauradores (Madrid), Santé, Cocina Futuro (Madrid), Berlitz Travellers Guide to Spain, Kevin Zraly's Windows on the World Complete Wine Course

Articles & Photographs Published In

The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, The Chicago Tribune, Food & Wine, James Beard Foundation Magazine, Fine Wine Folio, Playboy (America's Best Restaurants; America's Best Bars), Spain Gourmetour (Madrid), La Prensa del Rioja, El Diario de La Rioja, Sobremesa (Madrid & Latin America), Restauradores (Madrid).

Public Speaking Engagements

Gerry Dawes has been a featured speaker on Spain, Spanish wines, gastronomy, culture and travel at:

— The Smithsonian Institution
— Macy's De Gustibus
— Executive Wine Seminars
— Tasters Guild International
— International Wine Center
— Boston Wine Expo
— Centro Riojano (Madrid)
— Culinary Institute of America-Greystone (Napa Valley)
— Madrid Fusi

Speaking Engagements and Conference Presentations

Far too numerous to list here, list available on request for events in both the U.S. & Spain.

Television & Radio

EO Agency's 7 Days, 7 Nights: A Video Culinary, Wine & Travel Adventure in Valencia-Alicante with Gerry Dawes & Guest Chef Terrance Brennan

— Food Network, as an expert on Spanish food and wine. Dawes's color photographs also used as background for Food Network segments on the Basque Country and on Sherry. (Video clips available.)

— "A Matter of Taste," 2003 JBF Award winning program of David Michael & Rachel Kane, San Francisco. (July, 2004)

— CNN, interviewed by Carolyn O'Neill on Spanish Cuisine.

— Has appeared in numerous interviews on television and radio in Spain.

— CBS-TV 'Sixty Minutes' - Associate Producer for a segment on Spain.


"Gerry Dawes--has emerged as the leading American speaker, consultant, and writer on the subject of Spanish wine. . . suffice to say that everyone from The New York Times to the James Beard Foundation, from 60 Minutes to CNN, has sought Gerry's wisdom on the subject of Spanish wine, food and culture." - -David Rosengarten, The Rosengarten Report (August, 2004)

"I am sure you are happy about the article (Arthur Lubow's A Laboratory of Taste, The New York Times Magazine, August 10, 2003), since you have been talking about it (Spain's culinary ascendancy) for the past ten years." - - From an 8/13/03 e-mail from Ferran Adriá, Chef-partner, El Bulli.

"Gerry Dawes's knowledge of Spanish wines is encyclopedic. . .", John Mariani, author, food and travel columnist for Esquire, restaurant columnist for Wine Spectator, and food columnist for Diversion. (, 2003)
"Gerry Dawes . . . is probably America's premier expert on Spanish wines." – Frank J. Prial, The NewYork Times

"When it comes to the wines of Spain, Gerry Dawes is as passionate, enthusiastic and knowledgeable as they come. Every time we hear him speak about Spain, we long to travel there ourselves, to get to know the wines better." - - Mary Mulligan, Master of Wine and Author of Wine for Dummies, New York.

"Dawes is uniquely qualified to comment on the wines of Spain, having lived there for eight years in the late '60s and early '70s and since returned frequently to keep abreast of new developments. While his consulting career has been built on his knowledge of French and American wines, his passion has always been for Spain and its wines . . . Dawes is one of the most painstaking tasters we know." – Stephen D. Tanzer, The New York Wine Cellar.

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