Eneko Atxa is one of the brightest stars in the younger generation of Basque chefs. His restaurant, Azurmendi, was the first in Biscay to win two Michelin stars. He has won several awards, including “Chef of the Future” and has appeared in countless media, all the way to Gourmet magazine.
David de Jorge
Michelin Stars: none yet, but he’s a TV star
David de Jorge is the right hand of Martín Berasategui and a genuine media beast. He tries to claim a natural and -in his words- “no-bullshit” cooking style for everyday’s life. He also hosts one of the most promising spanish cooking TV show these days, from behind Restaurant Martín Berasategui.
At the Zuberoa Restaurant, Hilario Arbelaitz offers a flavoursome, imaginative cuisine with strong contrasts, using the finest local products. Hilario sets out to woo diners with his exquisite creamy dishes and his cuisine might be considered to mark the highest level of gastronomic craftsmanship.
Student of the renowned master of chefs Luis Irizar, has managed to highlight his restaurant Akelarre with highest honors at prestigious gastronomic guides. His role as culinary master has been equally prolific in both European and American institutions and on television where he has recorded more than 1400 shows since 1992.
Over the next week, we’d like to introduce you to the people who make up the jury for BasqueStage. They are distinguished chefs, and in previous rounds have included such notables as Thomas Keller and Juan Mari Arzak. They are tastemakers not just in the Basque Country culinary scene, but also on the worldwide stage.
Today, we will introduce you to the president of this year’s jury and the chef who currently hosts BasqueStages, Martín Berasategui. Over the following days we will present the remainder of the jury, so stay tuned for a roster of some of the region’s most talented cooks.
Sammic Scholarship Jury President
After a lifetime dedicated to restoration, seasoned with awards and international recognition, Martin is one of the cornerstones for understanding contemporary cuisine.
As Sponsor of BasqueStage, he has been entrusted to lead the jury in the task of assessing the candidacies and selecting two young chefs that will be awarded with Sammic Scholarships.
Last but not least. Interesting last day at the ICC. Part of the team visits French Culinary Institute (FCI) at the International Culinary Center in NYC, together Martin Berasategui.
BasqueStage team visits the French Culinary Institute in NYC. This act symbolizes the closeness of this project to the educational community.
We have visited the center in a tour guided by Chef Nils Norin. Chef Martin Berasategui is very impressed by the installations and the activity at the school. All classroom are real, fully equipped kitchens. He comes across his own handprints in one of the aisles of the Institute and his own menu at the library! He dedicates one of his books at the library.
We introduce Basquestage project at the Institute, and they show real interest in I Sammic Scholarship program. Moreover, on tuesday Marykate Roberts, from the Career Services at the FCI, visited our stand at Star Chefs and was given documentation regarding the project. We are sure a few fresh graduates from this Institute will apply for the Scholarship.
After a short visit to Star Chefs, we head towards the airport under T-storm threat leaving Jorge Bianchi in charge of Sammic stand. We board in the middle of the storm.
Second day at Star Chefs ICC. The last speaker of the day at the main stage is our 3 Michelin Star Chef Martín Berasategui.
After another whole day receiving really interesting visits, Martin speaks. 3 Michelin Star Chef Martín Berasategui presents “It’s All in the Technique: Harnessing the Potential of an Ingredient”. And he shows that Sammic food preparation and food preservation equipment is up to the best chefs’ expectations.
At the end of the speech, BasqueStage project is introduced to the public. It is received with great interests and many people go to Sammic stand after Martin Berasategui’s speech. They take information about I Sammic Scholarship and show great interest in it. We hope to receive a nice amount of applications for the scholarship in the next days.
We have accompanied Chef Martin at the backstage and will upload the pictures in the next days. For the time being, we have already uploaded some of them on flickr. During Chef Martin’s speech preparation, he met Chef Don Barber, who had just finished his speech “A recipe for the recipe” and the later invited Martin Berasategui to dine at his restaurant, saying it was more difficult to have Chef Martin in his restaurant than President Obama!
BasqueStage and Sammic are presented to American society, and this happened in style, along with the best chefs in the world. Objective: to prove that what we offer meets up the world’s best chefs’ expectations.
We had a lot of interesting visits starting with Star Chefs manager editor Will Blunt opening this year’s Star Chefs International Chefs Congress. Visitors show real interest in Sammic Food Preparation and Food Preservation Equipment.
Everything is ready for Chef Martin Berasategui’s speech on Day 2. The ingredients he brought from the Basque Country are already stored in Park Avenue Armory Kitchen, where the congress takes place, and the main stage is surrounded by the main speakers’ pictures, among which Chef Martin Berasategui could not be missing.
In the afternoon Chef Martin Berasategui and his team visit Star Chefs and Sammic Stand, where BasqueStage project and I Sammic Scholarships are being promoted. During the time they are with us, not few enthousiastic former interns at his restaurant in Lasarte have greeted Chef Martin, and shared a few stories with him.
America’s most reputed Chef and Sous Vide advocate, Chef Thomas Keller has signed a book for Basquestage. He showed interest in our project and has took wih him all the documentation regarding I Sammic Scholarships. On the educational side, Marykate Roberts, placement coordinator at the French Culinary Institute, has been thoroughly informed about I Sammic Scholarships.
Between visits, we have managed to hear some speakers and visit some workshops at the congress. Moreover, we have been able to broadcast the main events of the day via social media.
In the afternoon while we were wrapping the day up, Chef Albert Adria stopped by our booth with our friend Martin Berasategui and chatted with in a very nicely manner.
The day ended up with a superb dinner at Keens Steakhouse restaurant and then a nice visit to the Empire State Building. New York is a special place. Good day for Sammic and Basque Stage, from The Armory Park, to the Top of the World.
Still 2 intense days to go.
We meet at Hondarribia Airport, near San Sebastian. Sammic team will represent this company at the exhibition accompanying Star Chefs International Chefs Congress (ICC), which will take place September 20-22 at the Park Avenue Armory in New York City. Martin Berasategui, meanwhile, is a speaker at the event. Together we will make BasqueStage grow as a project.
We fly from San Sebastian to Madrid and from Madrid to NYC. Between both flights we have lunch in Barajas Airport in Madrid.
After eight hours of flight we tread on American soil. After doing the customs formalities, the whole team meets at Daniel Boulud’s DBGB Kitchen & Bar in Bowery St. Daniel Boulud and Martin Berasategui are friends since a long time ago and our colleage in the US Jorge Bianchi has chosen the right place to go to.
In the same restaurant we came across Will Blunt, Star Chefs Manager Editor.
We have high hopes for the Project. We will keep you informed.
We are happy today. Why? Because Chef Martín Berasategui has been throwing compliments at us on EiTB, the Basque Television Channel. He has mentioned his friends in Sammic and has been talking about our next trip together to NYC.
David de Jorge presents a daily cooking show on EiTB and once a week he is accompanied by Chef Martín Berasategui.