Guest Blog: Interview with 2 Michelin Star Chef Sergi Arola
At GourmetItUp we’ve always been curious about what it means to be an international celebrity chef. This week we got an exclusive interview with 2 Michelin star Chef Sergi Arola of the fine dining fame Arola that’s present across Mumbai, Sao Paolo, Portugal and Barcelona as he told us about his cooking styles, influences, favorites and his idea of a great dining experience.
A little background about Chef Arola: Sergi Arola is a bold, irrepressible culinary trend-setter and a definitive proponent of authentic Catalonian cuisine, who weaves stories of his homeland into his preparations. He is the proud owner of six celebrated restaurants around the world. A most unique personality, Sergi’s approach to food is sublime having successfully found the secret to culinary greatness by satisfying his creative and innovative soul.
Here’s our interview with Chef Sergi Arola:
What made you decide to become a chef?
I never wanted to be a chef, but when I stared to work at a restaurant for a living I realized my love for food and just decided to become a chef. I actually wanted to be a rock star.
What are the major influences to your cooking?
I don’t have just one thing influencing my cooking, it’s not like I have one special thing, it’s a lot of different things like my relation with my guest, my own concepts, something new I learn and something different everyday that influences my cooking.
Describe your style of cooking.
I tend towards complexity of simplicity. It’s what I like and what I’m looking for in my dishes. Respect my guests, my staff, my chefs, everything. We try to be all together and do things as well as we can.
Tell me about your worst disasters.
I used to be very very rock and roll. I remember when I went to the bright young chefs in Spain 1996 and was introduced by Maria Paz to Jack Macman one of the super super legends of the French cuisine. I was wearing my leather pants and my boots with my piercings, tattoos and blue hair and chefs did not look like this. I was introduced as someone who was going to be a big name in the Spanish cuisine. The legend looked at me and said “This guy, looking like this? It’s impossible he’ll become a good chef.”
Do you have a guilty food pleasure?
No. I love chocolate, especially the very simple chocolate. I have nothing to hide, I never hide anything. I try to be very clear in most of the things I do.
Who is your role model?
Every moment of my life is a role model. Obviously when I started it was one of the French classic chefs who I read about in a book. When I started to work more seriously I was impassioned by Pierre Gagnaire. I went to his restaurant with some friends in 1989. Now if I see, I would say Alain Passard, when I look at him I say wow, yes, I’d love to be like Alain Passard in a couple of years.
Favourite Spanish food?
I think it’s very complicated to say ONE dish, I think there’s one dish for every moment and every moment is different. I think for me there’s only one problem not only in Spanish but all the world cuisine, that there is only one luxury product that you can eat anytime, anywhere, anyhow that is the Jabugo ham. If I chose one, it would be that.
Favorite Italian food?
I know Italian cuisine, but it’s not my specialty. If you ask me about French, it would be easy because I know it very well. I’ve just been to Italy once.
Favorite Indian food?
I like Indian food very much, but haven’t eaten much. I’ve eaten it in Spain, but the perception that we have in Spain about Indian cuisine is that what Indians have about Spanish cuisine. I think outside India, especially Europe, it’s impossible to get a tandoor. If you don’t have a tandoor, then it’s impossible to do most of the Indian things. I love Thali and Punjabi grilled food from the north. I love Naan too!
Tell us something that most people don’t know about you?
I’m very passionate about everything I do. The most important for me is to be absolutely committed to what I do, with my guests, with my staff, everyone. I would say there are only two kinds of people, the good one and the bad one.
What advice would you give to aspiring young chefs?
Be passionate and survive the crisis.
Whats next for Sergei Arola?
Getting by the crisis. I think it’s a huge crisis. If you don’t live in Spain, you wouldn’t understand the state, it’s completely ridiculous. It’s important for most of us to survive the crisis. I lovingly opened my dream in Madrid, and my dream in Madrid becomes a nightmare. And now I’m working and doing things worldwide to keep my dream in Madrid.
- Guest Blogger Deepa Jain, GourmetItUp