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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


To Hell with Michelin! I Have the GeralDalí 'Persistence of Memory' Watch Awards and I am Bestowing Five Watches, My Top Rating, on Restaurante Quique Dacosta (formerly El Poblet), Chef Quique DaCosta and Quique Dacosta's Staff

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Gerry Dawes's Geraldo-Dalí Persistence of Memory* (Salvador Dalí)  Melting Watch Awards.

(The opinions in this post are entirely those of Gerry Dawes.  Quique Dacosta was not consulted.)

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Quique Dacosta. Photo by Gerry Dawes©2008.
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Video of Quique Dacosta's Restaurant in Denia (Alicante).

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Quique Dacosta is probably the brightest culinary star of his generation and this year, he and his stunning restaurant and stunning state-of-cocina de vangaurdia food were yet again royally screwed by the Michelin Guide (2010), who failed to give Quique (and others) a deserved third star. 

Let's get it straight, at one point restaurants in France had received around 1,700 Michelin rosettes while Spain, in the same year, had less than 200.  The ratio is roughly the same this year.  Let's be gracious and call it eight to one in favor of France over Spain.

Taking into consideration that Spanish restaurants and Spanish cuisine--vanguardia, modernized traditional and traditional--have been recognized by far more credible judges than the Michelin Guide as among the best restaurants in the world and that France is in mortal competition with Spain for gastro-tourism Euros, why is anyone giving any credence to Michelin's shameful French-centric judgement any more?

In addition to the long-vaunted modern cuisine restaurants like Ferran Adrià's El Bulli, Arzak, Can Fabes, Martín Berasategui, San Pau, Can Roca and many others, Spain has a slew of traditional cuisine restaurants that merit one and two rosettes (usually called "stars") from Michelin, some of them three.  If Elkano and Kaia in Getaria in the Basque Country alone (Not to mention a slew of other Basque restaurants) don't merit two stars for stellar food, stellar service, ambience, wine cellar, etc., who does?  I go on on listing restaurants all over Spain worthy of Michelin's lofty ratings, but it is futile, since even the vociferous protests of Madrid's culinary press corps who have voiced their displeasure to the faces of Michelin representatives who invited them to press luncheons in Madrid to present each year's new Red Guide, apparently have had little effect. 

If I were the Spaniards--and I often feel like I am--I would get Michelin's attention quick. 

"Señores (Monsieurs y Madames), is it not true that the Michelin Guides originated as a way to help your company sell more tires?" 

"In that case, would you prefer to sell rubber or paper?  Because we intend to organize a boycott against your pneumaticos if you don't manage to award Spain at least, at the very least, 1,000 more rosettes by the next time your guidebook to Spain and Portugal is published." 

Yes, we know there are Michelin tire factories in Spain.  Do you know how many people restaurants in Spain employ, how many farmers supply food to Spanish restaurants, how many wineries and winery employees provide them with wine?

About Gerry Dawes

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

Gerry Dawes was awarded Spain's prestigious Premio Nacional de Gastronomía (National Gastronomy Award) in 2003. He writes and speaks frequently on Spanish wine and gastronomy and leads gastronomy, wine and cultural tours to Spain. He was a finalist for the 2001 James Beard Foundation's Journalism Award for Best Magazine Writing on Wine, won The Cava Institute's First Prize for Journalism for his article on cava in 2004, was awarded the CineGourLand “Cinéfilos y Gourmets” (Cinephiles & Gourmets) prize in 2009 in Getxo (Vizcaya) and received the 2009 Association of Food Journalists Second Prize for Best Food Feature in a Magazine for his Food Arts article, a retrospective piece about Catalan star chef, Ferran Adrià.

In December, 2009, Dawes was awarded the Food Arts Silver Spoon Award in a profile written by José Andrés.

". . .That we were the first to introduce American readers to Ferran Adrià in 1997 and have ever since continued to bring you a blow-by-blow narrative of Spain's riveting ferment is chiefly due to our Spanish correspondent, Gerry "Mr. Spain" Dawes, the messianic wine and food journalist raised in Southern Illinois and possessor of a self-accumulated doctorate in the Spanish table. Gerry once again brings us up to the very minute. . ." - - Michael & Ariane Batterberry, Editor-in-Chief/Publisher and Founding Editor/Publisher, Food Arts, October 2009. 

Mr. Dawes is currently working on a reality television series 
on wine, gastronomy, culture and travel in Spain.

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