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Txacoli

Akelarre....and Restaurant Genealogy

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David Kinch, chef/owner at Manresa in Los Gatos, California has been named "Chef of the Year" by GQ Magazine.

I don't read GQ.....but this time they got it right. David is a sweet, kind, patient, generous chef. David doesn't wear fancy chef coats with stripes, stars and embroidery....when he visits you in his dining room he is typically dressed as his dishwashers do: polyester/cotton short-sleeved short with snap buttons, and a commercial white bib apron. Not spotless and starched.....the uniform he has worked in that night.

David worked at Akelarre in San Sebastian under Pedro Subijana back in the day. He learned his lessons well. Manresa is an ingredient run house....to the point where they have their own farm. And the lessons go the other way as well. Walk into Akelarre and mention David, and all manner of waitresses, stewards, porters, chefs, dishwashers and managers run out to shake your hand and inquire about him: what is he doing, is he married, are there babies....and when is he coming back?

My on-going respect and fascination for restaurants in San Sebastian revolves around the way the best of them (unknown, 1-star, 2-star, 3-star...whatever) seamlessly integrate local farmers, fishers, hunters, families and friends, clients....and the best of modern art and technology into age-old kitchen traditions and work.

In a post here a few years back I was ridiculed by a local "expert" as being naive to think that the grounded, organic, familial aspect I perceive modern Basque restaurants is anything but a commercial facade.

I don't think so....and it is nice to see a continuation and extension of that discipline and mystique out here on the West Coast of North America.

Manresa does have two Michelin stars...to Akelarre's three....but there is something encouraging about the mass media finally figuring it out.

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I know this is an old post, but wanted to comment none-the-less. Having recently eaten at Manresa I look forward to a trip next week to Basque Country. Highlights to come, for now...a day in the kitchen and lunch the following day at Arzak. Dinner at Akelarre, lunch at Asador Etxebarri, a visit to Getarria to do one or both - Kaia-Kaipe and Elkano, obvious pintxos tours at night. trying to fit in Zuberoa and Berastegui. If you have any suggestions please let me know

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