The International Academy of Gastronomy has singled out Spanish chef Jordi Cruz as the Chef de L’Avenir 2012-2013, a prestigious award, which is presented annually by this organization to talented young chefs.

The International Academy of Gastronomy’s purpose is to safeguard and develop regional and national cultures and their culinary heritage.

To this end, it studies, at international level, all matters relating to food and in particular to gastronomy; it has the status and resources to provide advice and make recommendations in all official and private situations. It encourages and supports all public or private initiatives and projects which have as their prime concern culture and education in food and gastronomy.

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Chef Jordi Cruz has two restaurants in Barcelona: the two-Michelin starred Àbac Restaurant and Ten’s Tapas Restaurant. He also has another one close to Montserrat Mountain,  Restaurant L’Angle (Mont Sant Benet).

Jordi is a unique example of how vocation (that wonderful feeling of “being called to learn and then to teach it”) can appear naturally, without coming from the outside.

Jordi Cruz (Manresa, Catalonia, 1978) is one of the chefs of the well-known Spanish avant-garde cuisine. One of the things that are probably most surprising about him is his professional precociousness. As he has said on several occasions, Jordi realised that he wanted to be a chef when he was seven years old. And not only did he realise it, but he did all he could as a child to make it happen.

So, when he was 14, he began working in the kitchen of the Estany Clar restaurant, in a town in the province of Barcelona. When he was 18 he was appointed head chef and at 24 he was awarded his first Michelin star, which made him the youngest Spanish chef (and second in Europe) to receive this sought-after accolade in the profession.

Years later he left Estany Clar and began at another restaurant, L’Angle, where he was awarded another Red Guide star. His big break in Barcelona came in 2010, when the González Simó family, owners of Hotel Àbac in the city, offered him the position of head chef in the hotel’s restaurant, replacing Xavier Pellicer.

One of Cruz’s maxims is to “cook simple dishes with logic and care, also applying the principle of proportionality so that diners enjoy each and every one of the courses on the menu and they are equally enthusiastic throughout”.

The Catalan chef likes to define his cooking as “evolving and inquiring, based on the product, where there is room for creativity and tradition”. One of the cooking techniques that he is passionate about is vacuum cooking. He has written about it extensively in his first book, Cocina con Lógica (Cooking with Logic), which he applies based on what he learnt from one of his best teachers, George Praulus, in France.

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In mid-2012, Jordi presented an interesting project to Barcelona food lovers, which aimed to enhance the city’s gastronomic map even further: the 10’s-Ten’s tapas bar, a temple for signature tapas, also created by the family who owns the Hotel and Restaurant Ábac. The bar offers ten fixed or essential tapas, and others that change every week and get more and more complex.

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The fixed tapas include patatas bravas (spicy potatoes), or Andalusian-style squid.

 

Text: Rodrigo García Fernández/©ICEX.