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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


Food Arts Silver Spoon Award to Gerry Dawes


 Premio Nacional de Gastronomía - - James Beard Foundation Nomination (Best Wine Writing)
Premio Periodistíco Cava

Gerry Dawes's Article Medieval Riches of El Cid's City (About Burgos, Spain)
Front Page, The New York Times Sunday Travel Section

 About Blog Author Gerry Dawes, Premio Nacional de Gastronomía (National Gastronomy Award)


2/27/2019

The Iberian ibex, Spanish ibex, Spanish wild goat, or Iberian wild goat (Capra pyrenaica) in the mountains around Grazalema (Cádiz)

  
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The Peñon de San Cristóbal towers over the amazing white mountain town of Grazalema (Cádiz).

Kay and I were traveling through the White Villages of Cádiz, on February 5th on our way to Ronda from Sevilla via Coronil, Zahara de la Sierra and Grazalema and the next day on February 6th from Ronda via Grazalema, Benamahoma and El Bosque to El Puerto de Santa María.   On the mountain roads on our way to and beyond the magical Pueblo Blanco (white village) of Grazalema, we encountered three bands of Iberian ibex, Spanish ibex, Spanish wild goat, or Iberian wild goat (Capra pyrenaica).   The first group we encountered was on the wild and curvy road that leads from Zahara de la Sierra over the Puerto de las Palomas below the San Cristóbal peak, but there was no place to stop along the road to get picture. 

 Iberian ibex, Spanish ibex, Spanish wild goat, or Iberian wild goat (Capra pyrenaica).

The next day, after a few tapas at Bar Rumores in the center of Grazalema, we drove up through hills past the source of the Guadalete River and encountered two more groups of Ibex, one behind some fenced in property, the others nearer the road (when they saw me, they bolted up a rocky hill showing their mountain climbing prowess!).

Wild Iberian Ibex mountain goats showing their climbing prowess.

At one point a female Ibex stops to urinate, at which point a buck, coming along behind her, sniffs the ground then sits down on the spot where she urinated. 



 
 ________________________________________________________________________________________  
 Gastronomy Blogs
 About Gerry Dawes

Gerry Dawes is the Producer and Program Host of Gerry Dawes & Friends, a weekly radio progam on WPWL 103.7 FM Pawling Public Radio in Pawling, New York.

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

2/25/2019

Manolo Esquivias y Mari Carmen Onrubia in la Caseta de los Nietos de Don Manuel Feria de Abril, Feria de Sevilla


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Manolo Esquivias y Mari Carmen Onrubia in la Caseta de los Nietos de Don Manuel
Feria de Abril, Feria de Sevilla by Gerry Dawes©2016

Alexandre Dumas pere wrote some fine descriptive passages about his travels in Spain in From Paris to Cadiz, including this quote, which is one of my favorites, “People talk of the glorious dreams of opium-smokers, the frenzied exhilaration that hashish can give, but I, who have studied both, assure you that neither can for a moment compare with the delirious joy of fifty or sixty Spaniards applauding a dancer in the upper room of a café in Seville!” 
 ________________________________________________________________________________________  
 Gastronomy Blogs
 About Gerry Dawes

Gerry Dawes is the Producer and Program Host of Gerry Dawes & Friends, a weekly radio progam on WPWL 103.7 FM Pawling Public Radio in Pawling, New York.

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

2/19/2019

Walks with Kay in Madrid on Feb. 9 & 10, 2019


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Kay at España Cañí tapas bar, Plaza del Ángel, 14, in the Literary Quarter (Barrio de Letras), España cañí (meaning "Gypsy Spain" in Spanish) is a one of the most often heard and stirring of pasodobles you might hear at a bullfight. It is an instrumental piece written around 1923 by by Pascual Marquina Narro (1873-1948). The song was first recorded in 1926. The images on the tiles are taken from paintings by the great Córdoban artist, Julio Romero de Torres.



Kay with the statue of the great 20th-Century Andalucian poet Federico García Lorca in la Plaza de Santa Ana, Madrid. 

 
Kay at Villa Rosa, now a flamenco show venue, but once a house of excellent repute. Madrid is famous for its tabernas, bars and restaurantes with hand-painted tiles. Villa Rosa has famous depictions of Sevilla, Granada, Málaga, Córdoba, Granada and Madrid on its exterior walls and more superb tile scenes in the interior.


Kay at the Oso y Madroño monument in la Puerta del Sol .  A bear eating the fruit of a strawberry tree, arbutus unedo, is the symbol-mascot of Madrid.


4) Kay at Kilometer Zero, the symbolic center of Spain in La Puerta del Sol. This kilometer marker is the point from which the national roads (N-1 to N-6) radiating from Madrid are measured. When you see K-323, etc. on one of the national roads, it is the distance in kilometers from this point.


The plaque is situated in front of what used to be the Post Office, the Real Casa de Correos, whose clock, according to urban legend, was the official time clock of Spain. This building now houses the offices of the President of la Comunidad de Madrid (Madrid is also a province). In any case, la Puerta del Sol is the Times Square of Spain and this clock tolls the hour at midnight to the throngs packing the plaza (and to the rest of the country) on New Year´s Eve.

The plaque was originally installed here in 1950 and, during some renovation work in 2002, it was re-installed 180 degrees, basically turned around so the map of Spain was upside down geographichally. During more work on la Puerta del Sol in 2009, the plaque was replaced again, this time installed in its original intended position.
 _____________________________________________________  

 Gastronomy Blogs
 About Gerry Dawes

Gerry Dawes is the Producer and Program Host of Gerry Dawes & Friends, a weekly radio progam on WPWL 103.7 FM Pawling Public Radio in Pawling, New York.

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

2/06/2019

From Sevilla's Hotel Alfonso XIII to Lentejas con Chorizo: Adventures on the Mountain Roads Between Sevilla & Ronda: Feb. 5, 2019 Sevilla-Venta Los Polancos, El Coronil (Sevilla)-Zahara de la Sierra-Grazalema-Ronda


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Tuesday, Feb. 5 Sevilla – El Coronil – Zahara de la Sierra – Grazalema - Ronda
(Note: All text & photographs, except when otherwise indicated, are by Gerry Dawes©2019.)
 
Stuffed local wild boar's head at Venta Los Polancos, El Coronil (Sevilla province). 




Kay Balun and Gerry Dawes in the patio of Hotel Alfonso XIII, Sevilla.

At noon, we checked out of the Alfonso XIII and, because of the now very complicated traffic patterns in Sevilla, we took our luggage with us in a taxi to Santa Justa station, where we picked up our Budget (Avis) rental car and headed for Ronda via the foothills village of El Coronil, still in Sevilla province,  to Zahara de la Sierra, over the Puerto de la Palomas mountain pass to the spectacular mountain-bound white village of Grazalema, then to Ronda, where we checked into the Hotel Colon, calle del Pozo 1, Ronda.  

AVE high-speed train in the Santa Justa station in Sevilla.

On two successive days, I drove Kay through the stunning Pueblos Blancos, White Villages, of Andalucía’s Cádiz province and into neighboring Málaga to the mountain city of Ronda, once a hideout for bandoleros (mountain bandits and smugglers; see the opera Carmen).  I have been visiting these areas since 1968 and have made a score of trips through these spectacular towns that area imbedded in equally spectacular natural settings.

We left Sevilla on the morning of Feb. 5, 2019 and drove via the foothills village of El Coronil on our way to Ronda.  For lunch was looking for a restaurant that I knew from many years ago, but it was closed, so we drove on a few kilometers looking for a classic venta, one of those beloved roadside restaurants that attract people traveling through the rural areas of Andalucía and weekenders out for drives in the country.  If the venta is particulary good, it can be worry of a dedicated day trip.  

The one we found for lunch at Venta El Polancar, outside of El Coronil, was not a venta of legend, but it was cheap—just 8.5 Euros apiece—and the modest dishes we had were decently made and satisfying.    It was getting close to 4 p.m. and we were the only ones in the dining room, unless you count the stuffed boar's head mounted on the wall.


I had my long-time favorite, salmorejo, a thicker Córdoban version of gazpacho, and lentejas con chorizo, a lentil stew with chorizo, and they gave us a plate of house-cured green olives, plus I had a tall glass of draft beer.  Kay’s sopa de picadillo, a typical soup with diced ham and egg in it, and a fried fish and calamar plate did not fare as well as I did.   Total 17 Euros, plus a couple of Euros tip. 

Salmorejo, a thicker Córdoban version of gazpacho, with a tall glass of draft beer and house-cured olives.


 Lentejas con chorizo, a lentil stew with chorizo, at Venta Los Polancos.



See following posts on Zahara de la Sierra, Grazalema and Ronda.
 ______________________________________________________ 
 Gastronomy Blogs
 About Gerry Dawes

Gerry Dawes is the Producer and Program Host of Gerry Dawes & Friends, a weekly radio progam on WPWL 103.7 FM Pawling Public Radio in Pawling, New York.

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

2/05/2019

Jewish Spain: Iglesia de Santa María de las Nieves, Popularly Known as Santa María la Blanca, at the Edge of The Barrio de Santa Cruz, The Ancient Jewish Quarter of Sevilla


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(Note:  All text & photographs, except when otherwise indicated, are by Gerry Dawes©2019.)

Entrance to the former synagogue, earlier mosque that is now la Iglesia de Santa Maria de los Nieves,popularly known as Santa María la Blanca. Photo by Gerry Dawes©2019

After a morning jaunt across my old barrio, the Barrio de Santa Cruz, the old Jewish Quarter of Sevilla, we went to Santa María de la Nieves church, more popularly known as Santa María la Blanca, (the same name as the exceptional other former synagogue in Toledo, also called Santa María la Blanca).  This church was built on the foundations of both the original small neighborhood mosque that was converted after the re-conquest of Sevilla from the Moors in the 13th Century into a synagogue used by Jews in the Jewish barrio of Sevilla (the barrio where I lived off and on for parts of five years).   Santa María la Blanca was a synagogue until the late 14th Century, when, after a terrible pogrom, it was converted into a Christian church.   

Santa María la Blanca is also the name of the street where the former synagogue is located.

Santa María la Blanca, with its overwrought, overwhelming and over-the-top Baroque decoration, as spectacular and meticulously restored as it is, will be somewhat of a disappointment to those looking for vestiges of the synagogue. 
 
Santa María la Blanca's overwrought, overwhelming and over-the-top Baroque decoration.

Almost nothing of the former synagogue is evident, except for the front entrance to the church, which was apparently the front door of the synagogue, and the much restored and altered rounded mudéjar-designed arches that are remnants of the synagogue (surprisingly not the former mosque) supported by columns whose originals were replaced with ones of red marble from Antequera.  
 
 
The rounded mudéjar-design arches that are most re-worked remnants of the synagogue.

These arches are somewhat reminiscent of other Jewish synagogues like the sublime Santa María la Blanca in Toledo in which Jewish congregations adopted and commissioned the popular mudéjar, or Moorish-inspired architecture of that epoch, usually done by Moorish artisans, bricklayers, etc. working under Christian rule. Often the three cultures--Christian, Jewish and Moorish--overlapped, so sometimes you see a mix of influences.

 
12th-Century Ibn Shushan Synagogue in Toledo, now Santa Maria La Blanca, but used mostly as a museum site of Jewish culture in Toledo.  Notice the decorative arquillos (little arches; above the main arches).  These synagogue arquillos were also found under some Murillo paintings during restoration a few years ago of Santa Maria La Blanca in Sevilla (see below). 

 These synagogue arquillos, little arches, were also found under some Murillo paintings during restoration a few years ago at Santa Maria La Blanca in Sevilla. 


 Floor plan of the 14th Century synagogue that became Santa Maria La Blanca church in Sevilla.


Sideview of of the 14th Century synagogue that became Santa Maria La Blanca church in Sevilla.

______________________________________________________________________________________ 
 Gastronomy Blogs
About Gerry Dawes

Gerry Dawes is the Producer and Program Host of Gerry Dawes & Friends, a weekly radio progam on WPWL 103.7 FM Pawling Public Radio in Pawling, New York.

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

2/04/2019

Susona: The Legend of the Beautiful Jewish Girl in Sevilla Whose Betrayal Led to Implementation of The Spanish Inquisition in the 15th Century (My article In Madrid's Guidepost Magazine, May 25, 1974)


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Related image
The stuff of legend, Susona's skull, on a house in el Barrio de Santa Cruz, the old Jewish Quarter of Sevilla.  (Photo courtesy of Leyendas de Sevilla)



La bella Susona. Una mujer fatal del siglo XV.   (Leyendas de Sevilla) 

Version in Spanish.

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About Gerry Dawes

Writing, Photography, & Specialized Tours of Spain & Tour Advice

For custom-designed tours of Spain, organized and lead by Gerry Dawes, and custom-planned Spanish wine, food, cultural and photographic itineraries, send inquiries to gerrydawes@aol.com.  

I have planned and led tours for such culinary stars as Chefs Thomas Keller, Mark Miller, Mark Kiffin, Michael Lomonaco and Michael Chiarello and such personalities as baseball great Keith Hernandez and led on shorter excursions and have given detailed travel advice to many other well-known chefs and personalities such as Drew Nieporent, Norman Van Aken, Karen Page and Andrew Dornenberg, Christopher Gross, Rick Moonen, James Campbell Caruso and many others.
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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 Arts
contributing 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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"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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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. 
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Trailer-pilot for a reality television series 
on wine, gastronomy, culture and travel in Spain.

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