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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


The Best of the Great Basque Three-Star Chef Martín Berasategui's Cuisine, at Bar Basque, Monday, Oct. 17, 2011.

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Martín Berasategui at the Basque Country promotional luncheon, 
The Best of Martín Berasategui's Cuisine, at Bar Basque, Monday, Oct. 17, 2011.  
Photo by Gerry Dawes©2011 /

From pintxos-tapas using Basque products to a six-course retrospective, The Basque Country sponsored Best of Martín Berasategui's Cuisine at the Bar Basque was a tour-de-force, executed beautifully by Chef Berasategui and his pick-up crew in the kitchen.  The pintxos were delicious and the luncheon featured dishes from 2011 back to 1995 (the brilliant Bersategui signature dish of puff pastry layered with foie gras, smoked eel, spring onions and green apple), was as good as an out-of-house sit-down luncheon gets.  The dishes were paired to Basque Country wines such as Txomín Etxaniz Txacolí 2010 and Marqués de Riscal Reserva (Rioja Alavesa) from the great 2001 vintage. 

Slide show on The Best of Martín Berasategui's Cuisine luncheon at the Bar Basque.
(Double click on images to enlarge.)

In attendance were several dignitaries from the Basque Country, including Basque lehendakari (prime minister/president), Patxi López; Joxe Mari Aizega, Director of the Basque Culinary Center (BCC) in San Sebastián (a new exchange agreement between BCC and The Culinary Institute of America was signed Monday evening); and three-star chef Juan Mari Arzak, the godfather of modern Basque and Spanish cuisine.  Other distinguished culinarians and dignataries spotted were author and television personality Anthony Bourdain, International Wine Cellar wine critic Josh Raynolds, Instituto Cervantes President Javier Rioyo, Culinary Event Stager Mike Cimino, Food Arts Managing Editor Beverly Stephen, former elBulli stagiere Najat Kanaache (who assisted Chef Berasategui) and Wunderkind aspirant chef Greg Grossman.

Mike Cirino, events specialist, and Greg Grossman, aspirant chef 
at the Basque promotional luncheon at Bar Basque in Manhattan on Oct. 17, 2011.
Photo by Gerry Dawes©2011 /

There was also a show of Basque food products and wines featuring such products as Idiazabal cheese, squid ink and squid ink sauce from Nortindal Seafood Products, bacalao from La Bacalandera, Alkorta and Giraldo, surimi and faux angulas from Angulas Arguinaga, Agiña Piperrak's Ibarra guindillas (long thin piquant chartreuse peppers that are an indispensable condiment for Basque bean dishes),  Zallo tuna, Hijos de José Serrats tuna, Corpa anchovies and turron from Gorrotxategi.  

Slide show on Basque products (Double click to enlarge.)

About Gerry Dawes   

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. 

Trailer for a proposed reality television series  
on wine, gastronomy, culture and travel in Spain.

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