Gourmet Food Design - Spoon resting on a napkin against a black table | Foodie Images | Chef Ramon Freixa | Spain's Next Culinary Legend
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Chef Ramón Freixa – Spain's Culinary Legend of Soul

Madrid’s celebrated two-Michelin star restaurant at Hotel Único celebrates a 15-year anniversary, a testament to maverick Chef Ramón Freixa, who also heads up the magic of slow-lane-living gastronomic delights in Spain's hidden foodie hotspot in L'Empordà: the luxury refugium of Mas de Torrent.

Experimental, innovative and courageous go some way to describing Freixa’s talents in the kitchen at Hotel Único, where every bite is an unexpected delight and plays on perception, texture and, ultimately, flavour. Put on the map by dishes such as ‘baby prawn cone’, and edible ‘stones’, Chef Ramón Freixa brings his skill to Mas De Torrent.

We seek to find out a little more on what brings him to the humble corner of L'Empordà in Spain’s Costa Brava and how the region has influenced his culinary style. Freixa tells us that the principles at play at Mas De Torrent’s restaurant revolve around regional cookery, saying that “the relationship with local suppliers and producers, cooking local products and not losing sight of tradition and popular recipes of the region” is the cornerstone to his philosophy.

Interestingly, he also sees a strong link between experimentation and tradition, which is merging ever stronger today with a revival of ancient techniques. Freixa notes that “I have always said that without tradition, the avant-garde is not possible and that we must not forget our origins. Anchovies (cured in salt) or garum (from Ancient Rome) are examples that are perfectly current today.”

Freixa also rhapsodises about L'Empordà as a hot foodie destination, telling us that it has “a great wealth of products, a traditional recipe book and a vast culinary culture that has been passed down from generation to generation.” This creates perfect ingredients for the appearance of a fantastic gastronomic offering at the hotel and gives Freixa the ideal template for him to flex his honed epicurean muscles.

He particularly loves the Palamós shrimp, La Escala anchovies, garoina (sea urchin), Pals rice and the peas of Maresme that announce the arrival of spring, which he poetically describes as ‘green caviar’. When it comes to sweet dishes, Freixa loves dark chocolate above 70%, from origins such as Ecuador or Sao Tome, and the addictive chocolate with allspice from Cacao Sampaka. From this he conjures desert delights – for example, using a croissant from the day before, he says you can “Do magic. Bathe it with a vanilla creme anglaise and wrap it in caramel. Pure delight.”

Freixa describes his style as having three facets: “I always say that the three pillars of my cooking are product, technique, and feeling. The feeling is what marks the way of interpreting and developing a recipe and gives personality to each dish.” This perhaps goes some way to explaining his pure genius when it comes to producing mouthfuls that are at the vanguard of the experimental food movement.

Out of the kitchen, you’re most likely to see Freixa enjoying time off with his husband, perhaps enjoying a croissant and a cappuccino in St. Mark's Square in Venice, being inspired by architecture at Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim with Copenhagen firmly on the wish list. You’ll spot him by his preferred designer threads – Prada, Loewe or Christan Dior. It seems living in the high fashion hub of Salamanca in Madrid has had its influence – the tempting boutiques and stores just a stone’s throw from Hotel Unico are all too tempting.

And if life in the kitchen became too hot to handle? Chef Ramón Freixa would likely start up his own bakery serving wondrous creations – a dream we can see coming to life and we’d happily be first in line for.

Chef Ramon Freixa | Spain's Next Culinary Legend | Unico + Mas De Torrent Girona
Dramatic Perfection Restaurant Tabel setting and design | Chef Ramon Freixa | Spain's Next Culinary Legend | Unico + Mas De Torrent Girona
Chef Ramon Freixa | Spain's Next Culinary Legend | Unico + Mas De Torrent Girona
Chef Ramon Freixa | Spain's Next Culinary Legend | Unico + Mas De Torrent Girona

Freixa is also very much inspired and moved by the historical culture of the region. Certainly, it is the land of Dali who was born here, L'Empordà was also home to artists such as Joseph Pla and the area was a magnet for Catalan bourgeoisie and Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró and Marcel Duchamp were lured by the light. For Freixa at Mas de Torrent, the views and beauty of the Empordà are part of the dish and he often draws on a quote from Josep Pla that continues to inspire him: 'The cuisine of a country is its landscape in the casserole'.

Garoina Sea Urchin | Chef Ramon Freixa | Spain's Next Culinary Legend | Madrid + Mas De Torrent Girona Chef Ramon Freixa | Spain's Next Culinary Legend | Madrid + Mas De Torrent Girona
Mas De Torrent Girona in L'Emporda Spain | Luxury hotel Spa and Gourmet Restaurant 5 Stars close to Costa Brava | Aerial Photo


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