The winner of the award will be announced on the last day of the congress, Wednesday, June 2.
Once again, Madrid Fusión will give eight young chefs, who aspire to win the Upcoming Chef Award, the opportunity to show their talent at the most important gastronomy summit in the world. On the last day of the event (Wednesday, 2 June), Madrid Fusión 2021 will bestow a new name to this select group of Spanish cooks. Despite the difficulties that the pandemic has created for the restaurant industry, it is satisfying to see that the number of candidates up for this award has continued to grow over these months in an unstoppable way, opening up new paths for Spanish cuisine. Since June 2020, the Madrid Fusión team has gone to great lengths to select a number of young professionals who, in the opinion of the congress organisers, will set be the touchstones for the future of cooking in Spain. Food critics and foodies will vote by secret ballot and the winner will be announced on Wednesday, 2 June, at the Congress Auditorium by Balfegó.
This is one the most prestigious awards that a young chef can receive during their career. Since 2003, the Upcoming Chef Award has changed the lives of more than fifteen chefs. Over these years, the world of gastronomy has seen how the impact of this recognition has been like a springboard in the professional lives of the participants. On this occasion, Madrid Fusión welcomes eight new candidates seeking to join the list of previous winners that include: Dabiz Muñoz, Ricard Camarena, Rodrigo de la Calle, David Yarnoz, Diego Gallegos, Javi Estévez and Camila Ferrero (from Seville, and winner of last year’s edition). Madrid Fusión 2021 will be held at IFEMA (Madrid’s Fair and Congress Centre) from 31 May to 2 June, and this year is called Circular Gastronomy. The congress will be held on-site and, for the first time ever, will be streamed live on internet from Madrid Fusión’s digital platform that you can sign up and register for here (www.madridfusion.net).
The candidates for the Upcoming Chef Award at Madrid Fusión 2021:
Restaurant Garena. Lamindao (Biscay)
A disciple of Eneko Atxa, this rural cook is at the helm of an 18th farmhouse that is nestled among sloping vineyards, between the Urkiola and Gorbea (Biscay) nature reserves. His cooking is thoughtful, filled with nuances and closely linked to produce from his surroundings, yet is conveyed in a contemporary way. Tales and stories behind each dish reveal the old traditions of these Basque farmhouses. It’s a way of interpreting the surroundings with sensitivity and the balance that characterise them.
Restaurant Ciclo (Cádiz)
After a few years with Martin Berasategui and almost a decade with Ángel León as culinary director at Aponiente, in December 2020 he opened Ciclo in the centre of Cádiz. With the help of his wife, Rocío Maña, and a great team, he has triumphed with a light cuisine using ingredients from the sea; he uses local produce with sensitivity, creativity, technique and respect for the environment that all shine through in his creative eye-catching dishes. He makes flavoursome recipes with shunned vegetables. Haute cuisine with a casual flair.
Restaurant Kraken ArtFood (Biopark Aquarium in Gijón)
A technical industrial engineer who stopped studying and threw herself into cooking. She trained at Bridgend College in Wales, worked with Nacho Manzano and at other great restaurants. Her dishes bring together Asturian cuisine combined with recipes and flavours from afar. Her dishes are fun, striking and creative, and she plays with the flavours of the sea and seasonal produce. This is signature cuisine at its best, respectful of the local pantry and brimming with colourful ideas.
Javier Sanz and Juan Sahuquillo
Restaurant Cañitas Maite (Albacete)
Friends since school and cooks at Casas Ibáñez (Albacete), a place in La Mancha where they run two restaurants; a simple eatery and a place next door with serious gastronomic aspirations. They add a good dollop of boldness and creative talent to their technical know-how, and they convey all this to their commitment for recovering traditional dishes from La Mancha. They source exceptional produce and, like a gale-force wind, have burst onto the haute-cuisine scene.
Restaurant Alma Mater (Murcia)
He opened Alma Mater in Murcia in April 2019, after travelling the world for six seasons as the sous-chef for the Ferrari F1 squad. He started out cooking at the Natural History Museum in London, before going on to work at some of Spain’s great restaurants. His dishes, which are personal, seasonal, journey-inspired, contemporary and close to his roots, portray Murcia’s natural pantry in a cosmopolitan way with flavours and techniques from other countries.
Carlos Pérez de Rozas
Restaurant Berbena (Barcelona)
Carlos worked in famous kitchens around the world before opening his small restaurant, a tiny charming bistro with just 4 tables. He studied at the Hofmann School of Hotel Management, worked with Seiji Yamamoto in Tokyo, and with Michel Bras in Laguiole, among other esteemed restaurants. He creates very flavoursome recipes with few ingredients; trilogies that he assembles with seasonal produce and his own personal trademark spark. Even the magnificent bread, that is the guiding thread of his cuisine, is homemade.
Sergio and Mario Tofé
Restaurant Éter (Madrid)
Since last October, two young brothers, Sergio and Mario Tofé, have single-handedly run Éter, a restaurant with only four tables. A cosy place in Madrid’s neighbourhood of Legazpi, it is located where a French restaurant that belonged to their family once stood. Their cooking is contemporary, somewhat global and daring, yet perfectly balanced. Each ingredient has a specific role in their dishes. They have a dab hand when it comes to herbs and spices, and are great at finding contrasts that work.
Dani Malavía and Roseta Félix
Restaurant Fraula (Valencia)
Two disciples of Ricard Camarena and Quique Dacosta who each have a role: Dani makes the savoury dishes and Roseta makes the desserts. The Mediterranean and vegetable gardens are their go-to places for produce. The same goes for produce from the Albufera and its various kinds of rice. They proudly and strictly respect the seasons and make the utmost of the ingredients that are delivered to their pantry.
Sustainable haute cuisine with a fresh, imaginative style. Roseta’s desserts – she uses dairy produce, chocolate and fruit with great flair – are another of the restaurant’s attractions.