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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


Endorsements and Testimonials From Culinary Stars and Those Who Have Traveled With Gerry Dawes in Spain

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Endorsements and Testimonials

I have planned and led tours for such culinary stars as Chefs Thomas Keller, Mark Miller (six times), Terrance Brennan (twice), Mark Kiffin, Michael Lomonaco and Michael Chiarello and such personalities as baseball great Keith Hernandez.  And I have led on shorter excursions and/or have given detailed travel advice to many other well-known chefs and personalities such as Drew Nieporent, Danny Meyer, Norman Van Aken, Ruth Reichl, Mauro Maccioni, Jeffrey Steingarten, Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg, Cindy Pawlcyn and James Campbell Caruso.

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 "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 of José Andrés ThinkFoodGroup, Nobel Peace Prize Nominee and Oscar Presenter 2019

"Trust me everyone, I have traveled with this man, if Gerry Dawes tells you to eat somewhere it's like Bourdain, believe it!!" - - Chef Mark Kiffin, The Compound Restaurant, Canyon Road, Santa Fe, New Mexico.

“Spain wouldn’t be as known to Americans without the stories Gerry tells and writes.” - - Superstar Catalan Chef Ferran Adrià, elBulli

"But, for Gerry, Spain is more than just the Adriàs and (Juan Mari and Elena) Arzaks. He has connected with all manner of people working at every level and in every corner of Spain. I’m always amazed at this reach. You can step into a restaurant in the smallest town in Spain, and it turns out they know Gerry somehow. I remember one rainy night in Madrid during the 2003 Madrid Fusión congress. I wanted to go to my favorite place for patatas bravas, the ultimate tapa. But Gerry had another place in mind, and I didn’t know about it. But Gerry is always right. The potatoes at his place were amazing.” - - 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 


(Double click on tour advertisement to enlarge.)

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"In his nearly thirty years of wandering the back roads of Spain," Gerry Dawes has built up a much stronger bank of experiences than I had to rely on when I started writing Iberia...His adventures far exceeded mine in both width and depth..." -- James A. Michener, author of Iberia: Spanish Travels and Reflections
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“The American writer and town crier for all good Spanish things Gerry Dawes . . . the American connoisseur of all things Spanish . . .” Michael Paterniti, The Telling Room: A Tale of Love, Betrayal, Revenge and The World’s Greatest Piece of Cheese

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"Gerry Dawes, I can't thank you enough for opening up Spain to me." -- Michael Chiarello on Twitter. 

"Chiarello embarked on a crash course by traveling to Spain for 10 days in 2011 with Food Artscontributing authority Gerry Dawes, a noted expert on Spanish food and wine. Coqueta's (Chiarello's new restaurant at Pier Five, San Francisco) chef de cuisine, Ryan McIlwraith, later joined Dawes for his own two week excursion, as well. Sampling both old and new, they visited wineries and marketplaces, as well as some of Spain's most revered dining establishments, including the Michelin three-star Arzak, Etxebarri, the temple to live fire-grilling; Tickets, the playful Barcelona tapas bar run by Ferran Adrià and his brother, Albert; and ABaC, where Catalan cooking goes avant-garde." - - Carolyn Jung, Food Arts, May 2013.

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 Tapas hopping with a few friends at Rafa in Madrid.  
Gerry Dawes, Tetsuya Wakuda, Rochelle Smith, Livia Iaccarino (Don Alfonso 1890)
Janet Van Aken, Charlie Trotter, Norman Van Aken.  Photo: Don Alfonso Iaccarino.

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EO Agency Pilot Video of Proposed 7 Days, 7 Nights Television Series
with Gerry Dawes (& Guest Chef Terrance Brennan)
(Click on arrow to play video.)

"Gerry has an extraordinary knowledge of Spain, not just the cuisine and wine but the geography (little tapas bars on tiny streets in villages up in the mountains), history, culture and people. One of the highlights of the trip for me was not a 3-star Michelin meal, but a lunch at a winery. Gerry, of course, knew the winemaker, and we dined in a large beautiful room with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the vineyard. We ate simply: tomato salad, jamón ibérico, great bread and olive oil, baby lamb chops grilled over grape vines cuttings (exquisite), ewes’ milk cheese and, of course, great wine. What was special about this was the people, who invited us into their home with warmth and genuine hospitality, their alegría de vida (joie de vivre). I don’t speak Spanish but didn’t have too, we communicated through food, wine, banter, laughter and facial expressions." - - Terrance Brennan, Chef, cookbook author, creator-owner of New York’s Picholine and Artisanal restaurants. Brennan rates this trip, which predates the film pilot, as one of the top two gastronomic experiences of his life. 

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Gerry Dawes has been traveling in Spain for more than 40 years has done more than 100 extensive food and wine trips to Spain, 60 in the past decade alone. He 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, and Spain's El País, El Mundo, Cambio 16, and Restauradores. 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 (trips in 2006 & 2013), Chef Michael Chiarello, Chef Ryan McIlwraith, the Club Chefs of New York and Connecticut, John Sconzo of Docsconz: Musings on Food & Life.

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Testimonials on Gerry Dawes's Spain Expertise

"I have been reading Gerry Dawes’ work on Spain for years, have been guided by him on visits to Spain, depend on him to answer any questions I might have about Spain, and hear from him when I get something wrong about Spain. No one is a more indefatigable lover and authority about his adopted country, and no one writes better about its food and wines."- - John Mariani, Mariani's Virtual Gourmet Newsletter; columnist for Esquire, Wine Spectator, Bloomberg News and Radio, and Diversion. He is author of The Encyclopedia of American Food & Drink (Lebhar-Friedman), The Dictionary of Italian Food and Drink (Broadway), and, with his wife Galina, the award-winning Italian-American Cookbook (Harvard Common Press).

"My first introduction to Spanish cuisine was a fabulous two-week trip I took all around Spain with Gerry Dawes in 1990." -- Thomas Keller, Chef-owner, The French Laundry, Per Se, Bouchon, Bouchon Bakery.

"As with most culinary adventures, for Terrance Brennan (Chef-owner of New York City's Picholine and Artisanal restaurants; Founder of Artisanal Premium Cheese Center) it began as an occasional whisper. Then it became a persistent drone. And, finally a repetitive shout: 'Spain! Go to Spain! . . . Spain is the new France!' It was hard to ignore, so when his long-time friend Gerry Dawes suggested a whirlwind gastronomic tour of Spain, Terrance leapt at the idea. Dawes often referred to as 'Mr. Spain' (in culinary and wine circles), is an expert on that country's food, wine, and culture, and was the ideal person with whom to make the pilgrimage. Reigning in Spain: Blazing Through a Culinary Tour, The Artisanal Table, Summer 2008.

"Going to Spain with Gerry Dawes as Janet and I have done is one of the greatest ways imaginable to take in what is white-hot or classic regarding all things gastronomia. Treat yourself and those you love to the real insider's tour and join the Gerry tapeo!"-- Norman Van Aken, "The Father of New World Cuisine, "Chef, Author, Restaurateur
"I have taken ten trips to Spain, but the best trip was the one (of the six) Gerry Dawes orchestrated for me. 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, Chef/owner, Coyote Cafe (Santa Fe, New Mexico), winner of the James Beard Foundation's Southwestern Chef of the Year Award 1996.
"Just wanted to send you a big THANK YOU for the world's greatest two-hour tour of Madrid. From the boquerones to the capes to the good company, we loved every minute! Hope to have the pleasure of seeing you again soon...on any continent. With appreciation." - - Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg, James Beard Award-winning co-authors of BECOMING A CHEF, CULINARY ARTISTRY, DINING OUT, CHEF'S NIGHT OUT, THE NEW AMERICAN CHEF, WHAT TO DRINK WITH WHAT YOU EAT, THE FLAVOR BIBLE and ON MASTERING WINE (forthcoming from Little, Brown), Web:

Commonwealth Club of California
A Taste of Spain Tour October 2006

(Click on the arrow to activate slideshow, click on the lower left corner box to turn captions on or off; double click on the image box to go to a Picasa webpage where, by clicking on "slideshow," you can see the images enlarged full frame.) 


"Wow! What a trip!!! It was everything we hoped for and so much more--we very much enjoyed it. This has been one of the best trips we've ever taken and believe me, we've had a blast in the past! We hope to join up with you on a tour Southern Spain. Until then." Jo & Linda Rubino

"Thanks so much for guiding us thru Spain and showing us your unique insider's view-it was a taste of Spain in more many ways than food and wine although that part was fantastic. We could never have had the experience of the country without your efforts and expertise.We believe (as do Tom and Carol) that your knowledge as well as the friendships that you have developed is a unmatched asset." All the best, Celia and Steve Rosen, New York

"Carol and I are still a bit woozy in the head from the time difference but we have been talking nonstop about our great trip and how it exceeded our expectations. Thanks for the adventure and getting us access to the best wineries and restaurants in from Madrid to Barcelona. Again thanks for everything." Thomas H. Burkhart, CEO, The Savant Group, San Francisco, CA 

"Lars and I just got home from Spain. Wanted to tell you again how memorable you made the tour of Spain and how much we enjoyed the great restaurants, wineries and people you were able to gather together for the group." Carol Vistnes, San Francisco

"Thanks for the tour! Mercedes (Lopez de Heredia, La Rioja) and the cooperage will always be remembered as will the "boat" trip (the ferry to Casa Camara in Pasajes de San Juan) and meal in San Sebastian (at three-star Michelin Arzak). Thanks for a wonderful trip. This one is the best ones ever for me. We would like to take another trip with you next year." Jim & Anastasia Brown, San Francisco

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