Chef Jordi Cruz is the talk of the town at the moment in Spain, thanks to his innovation, unstoppable career and now the fact that he was named 2013 Chef of the Future by the International Academy of Gastronomy. Cruz owns the high gastronomy ABaC Restaurant & Hotel in Barcelona and Ten’s Tapas Restaurant, which opened in June 2012. This summer, he moved his L’Angle Restaurant from the village of Sant Fruitós de Bages outside of Barcelona, to the Hotel Cram in the city center. Besides manning these top kitchens, the award-winning chef is now a judge on the popular TV show, MasterChef Spain. We chatted with Cruz about his current projects.
Why did you decide to move L’Angle to Barcelona’s city center?
My main restaurant is ABaC, and I want L’Angle to be as well attended as ABaC. I want it to have the best product available. I also want to be able to be at the restaurant each morning. Having the three [restaurants] in Barcelona makes my life easier, and it helps make Barcelona’s culinary offerings more attractive. Diners will see more of me in all three restaurants.
Are the menus at ABaC and L’Angle similar?
ABaC means traditions and creativity in equal parts, based on a real product and huge culinary foundations, while L’Angle is the rock ’n’ roll of gastronomy. But being in Barcelona, the tradition must be above the creativity; and some dishes will introduce the tradition with modern techniques and some will be culinary sparks. Prices [at L’Angle] will be more affordable than ABaC, [and the menu comes] in a very different form. There will be no repeated dishes at the two restaurants.
Tapas is not your specialty — what made you decide to open Ten’s Tapas?
I opened Ten’s Tapas because in my research and development during the last 18 years, we saw that we had launched some nice dishes that I always thought could be great tapas; and I did not use them in my two restaurants because they were high gastronomy restaurants. Taking advantage of a closed space that I had in the Born neighborhood in Barcelona (where ABaC used to be), we decided to open a high-end tapas restaurant to respond to the locals’ and tourists’ demand of having a great tapas experience. This tapas bar has a great environment and is decorated in a contemporary way with very competitive prices. For my team is important to transmit the high quality of tapas, meaning you can have real excellent food with tapas using excellent basic products.
Why are you participating in MasterChef Spain?
As some may know, the semi-final of MasterChef Poland was filmed at ABaC. I liked the format, and I was asked to participate in launching the Spanish version. It is a very clean program, in which entertainment and cuisine mix well together. They told me to be myself and that it would not take up a lot of my time. I loved the idea that gastronomy would be more widespread in Spain. I took it also as a little break from my crazy daily life in my three restaurants.
What is your favorite dish to cook?
I love to cook any product in season that can be prepared in an original way. This is where I transform the dish for the pleasure of my clients. I have probably cooked more than 2,000 recipes and around 200 are awesome; to choose just one is really impossible.
What ingredients are must-haves in your kitchen?
For me, any local, seasonal product must be in my kitchen, especially the high quality ones. A basic is olive oil, especially the Arbequina variety. Right now in Barcelona, we have excellent vegetables and I mix them with some seasonal fresh fruits (prunes, cherries), and, as usual, our excellent fish and seafood.
Photos courtesy of L’Angle