Quique Dacosta: ‘The creator and the area have a lot to do with the future of cuisine and its values’ lifestyle
The three Michelín-starred chef, the only one in the Valencian Community bearing this honour, has opened up about the future of high-cuisine in terms of innovation, new technologies and sustainability.
26 years in the business and several international awards confirm a culinary ideology which banks on origin and raw materials which define the atmosphere: the seaside town of Denia.
Born in Jarandilla de la Vera, Cáceres, Quique Dacosta combines the Extremaduran gastronomic style and products with those from the Mediterranean in his creative cuisine that banks on the reinvention of signature cuisine.
After 26 years of working as a chef, Quique Dacosta (born in Jarandilla de la Vera in 1972) has achieved something that many others have not been able to: the “three Michelín stars” award. A highly renowned award because of which he is recognised as being one of the best Spanish chefs of all time, since he is the only Valencian chef who has achieved this recognition. He is one among another eleven from all over Spain.
He wanted to be a footballer when he was a child. He worked as a DJ, a waiter and a pizza delivery man when he was a teenager. At the same time, it was his grandmother, the only person in the family that took charge of cooking, who made him become interested in cooking from his early childhood.
When he turned 16, two years after he had arrived in Denia from Jarandilla de la Vera (Cáceres), he got his first job as a cook. The ‘El Poblet’ restaurant taught him about the key principles of the traditional high cuisine, which he made his very own when he turned that establishment into his own business: Quique Dacosta Restaurant (in Denia, Alicante). He remarks that that moment was the turning point in his career: “I started as a kitchen porter, and I ended up being the head chef, and when I became a partner in the business, I got rid of that outer factor which conditioned what I wanted to be”.
Modernity from the very beginning
After the 90s, he had contextualised ‘new’ Valencian cuisine, as well as developing his own inspiration on the landscape and the arts from 2001 to 2004, Quique Dacosta created his own cuisine style in 2011. We are dealing with a creative eclectic cuisine which provides traditional style with new techniques. As well as that, it banks on proximity, since his creations start ‘from local products’. He is strongly committed to sustainability. “In the long run, I cook from my surroundings. Not only as cultural heritage, but also as a larder. If I do not bank on sustainability, balance and environmental friendliness, my own larder will be spoilt, and therefore unsustainability would become a factor’.
With a melting-pot of Extremaduran and Mediterranean gastronomic products, and from the cosmopolitan view of other cultures as a means of making his products and designs more valuable, Dacosta has created a renovated signature cuisine. A menu which consists of 40 tapas that are divided into tasting events and sequences which he himself defines as highly “direct, precise, a small mouthful, a long sip and a tasty verse”. The ecosystem and the products talk to each other “in order to get to what is key without any need of making use of so many ingredients on a plate”.
In 2019, in his strong commitment to the development of cuisine, Quique Dacosta has presented ‘Autorretratos’, his new gastronomic season.
“Autorretratos is a gesture and an attitude, saying goodbye to the monotony, to the monopoly which we ourselves have created and which, now more than ever, needs our imagination to continue with its development”, Dacosta explains in his webpage.
With ‘Autorretatos’ Dacosta strongly turns his cuisine around and he gets rid of what it is known. The Valencian chef creates a new menu which keeps the importance of the product and his land involvement while revealing new cooking techniques. Avant-garde for the most exquisite palates.
A lifetime achievement Award
Through every new menu, Dacosta recounts the unique concepts which spring from his creative mind. A culture of good cuisine and food with local ingredients. This formula thought up like never before, has led the chef to being awarded with a huge number of awards: three Michelín stars for the Quique Dacosta Restaurant in 2002, 2006 and 2012; and three Guía Repsol suns, among many other awards.
In addition to his internationally-renowned work as a chef, Quique Dacosta reinforces his facet as a writer with five gastronomic books which have already been published. Alongside PORCELANOSA Grupo, he takes part in the design of the future kitchen, a combination of quality and Premium character, together with the savoir faire of almost 30 years’ work in a kitchen.
In my opinion, bringing different disciplines together, all of them with a meaning, result in improvement for any task to a great extent. I have seen this when I have been to Porcelanosa headquarters to design a kitchen with its designers. Working together, everyone with their own approach and ideas, we are able to design future kitchens, which will not have anything.