Madrid was a little lighter this past weekend and Dallas a little fuller as chef Sergi Arola of Spain traveled here to dispense his passion for food, music, Harley Davidsons and life in general. Through Central Market's Passporte España event, Arola hosted three cooking classes locally and one in San Antonio enlightening us in the art of tapas and Spanish bravado.
|Photos by Lauren Drewes Daniels|
|Chef Sergi Arola visits Central Market.|
Bearing a resemblance to Al Pacino, the chef sports a rock-star look with tattoos, black boots and aviator sunglasses. Visiting Texas for the first time, he quickly became enamored by the state and likened it to Spain by way of size and food -- noting that just as Texans have barbecues with friends, Spaniards have tapas with amigos.
"One thing I tell you, in Texas you would never eat barbecue without friends, right?" said Arola. "Well, the same goes for Spain. You always eat tapas with friends."
See, we're practically cousins.
As you may know, in Europe the best of the best restaurants are ranked with Michelin stars. (Yes, the same company that makes the tires. In 1900 the Michelin brothers made a restaurant guide for travelers, which was the inception of the now revered reviews.) Well, Arola's restaurant in Madrid called Gastro has been awarded two Michelin stars, which is considered outstanding. He has a bevy of highly impressive awards and successful restaurants in his back pocket, but the thing that caught my attention on his bio was that he is a "leader in the molecular gastronomy movement." Fearing his class may be like day surgery, I did a little research and watched a video that actually was part cooking and part science lesson.
Curious about Texans' reception to this concept, I asked Arola if, after teaching a few classes around the state he thought people "got" this molecular gastronomy movement? Well, Sergi obviously didn't write the marketing brochures that preceded his visits because he shied away from the label.
"First of all, all cuisine in general is molecular," he said. "If you take a T-bone and put salt and pepper on it, it's a chemical process. And to be very honest, great food doesn't need any extra label. There are only two types of cuisine. Right and wrong. Good or bad."
So, no need for the Bunsen burner, flask and goggles I brought. Bummer. More »