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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


James Michener's Iberia: Spanish Travels and Reflections: More Autographs, Stories & Photos Behind the Signatures in My Copy. Author Barnaby Conrad, Pg. 641 Plus Conrad´s Drawing in my Copy of La Fiesta Brava

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James Michener's Iberia: Spanish Travels and Reflections, Barnaby Conrad, pg. 641. Book photograph by Iberia photographer Robert Vavra.
In Iberia, James Michener mentioned Barnaby Conrad, artist and author of two English-language taurine classics, Gates of Fear, The Death of Manolete and Fiesta Brava.  I met "Barny," as his friends called him, the first time in Jaén on June 13, 1971, when I went with American Matador John Fulton and his adopted son, Federico, to attend the El Cordobés bullfight that was televised via satellite on closed circuit venues around the world, promoted as "La Corrida del Siglo" (The Bullfight of the Century) and dubbed "the herd shot around the world."  El Cordobés fought two bulls alternating with the serious bullfighters, Santiago Martín  'El Viti' and José Fuentes.  On his last the two borregos (dubbed "sheep" because they were so small) that he fought, he actually mounted it like a horse and rode it! 
This picture of Matador John Fulton and me with Manuel Bénitez 'El Cordobés' was taken at the after-party in Ja
én.  Barnaby Conrad comped us tickets and I got 'El Cordobés' to sign mine (below).

Author-Artist-Owner of the bar of legend "Matador" in San Francisco, Barnaby "Barny" Conrad, legendary bullfight aficionado Charles Patrick Scanlan and Mrs. Conrad (Mary Nobles Slater) in Sevilla, Feria de Abril 1998.

Many years later during the Feria de Sevilla in 1998, I met up with Barnaby Conrad, his wife Mary and the great aficionada Charles Patrick Scanlan at Scanlan's favorite Irish pub near the Cathedral in Sevilla. .

If you know nothing else at all about Barnaby Conrad, you should know that he wrote one of the greatest ledes in history in his book, The Death of Manolete:

"On August 28, 1947, a multimillionaire and a bull killed each other in Linares, Spain, and plunged an entire nation into deep mourning."

Once I was at a birthday party at The Doubles Club in New York for my friend Alison Price Becker and she sat me at a table with her, George Plimpton and others. He found out from our conversation that I had lived in Spain and knew many matadores.

Plimpton said, "These aficionados are so into bullfighting that they can tell you the name of the bull and that date that a bullfighter like Manolete was killed."

I replied, "The bull's name was Islero from the ranch of Don Eduardo Miura and he killed Manolete in the Plaza de Toros de Linares, Jaén, on August 28, 1947.

"See," Plimpton said, "I told you so."


My copy of La Fiesta Brava by Barnaby Conrad, signed by Conrad and with an original drawing dedicated to me, Jaén, June 13, 1971.

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 About Gerry Dawes

 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. 

In 2018-2019, Gerry Dawes was 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.


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

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