A CELEBRITY chef who looks more like a footballer than a whiz in the kitchen has won Madrid its first three Michelin starred restaurant in a decade.
David Munoz has snared the massive honour for his restaurant DiverXo after showing excellent creativity and style.
He only won his second star just last year and is known for his ‘traveling cuisine’, which is based on a combination of Asian and Madrid-style cooking.
Bearded with a black Mohican in the middle of a shaven head and horn-shaped ear-piercings, Munoz comes from a middle-class Madrid family with no history of professional cooking.
He started buying his first creative cook books when he was 14.
His tiny restaurant on the famous Castellana street has just got better and better though and he has 15 chefs in the tiny kitchen.
On entering, the diners see chefs putting the final touches to the dishes in the hallway because the kitchen is not big enough.
“We were looking to make it a brutal experience,” Munoz recently said. “What is happening in DiverXo is an absolute miracle. DiverXo aims to change totally the concept of the three-star Michelin restaurant.”
Munoz, who is set to open a branch in London next year, works 15 hours a day and has not had a day off in six years.
As for diners, “you have to come here with an open mind,” he adds. “Anything is possible here and you have to be prepared to be surprised.”
His restaurant is the eighth in Spain to win three stars, the majority being in the Basque or Catalan regions.
El Portal de Echaurren in La Rioja and M.B. by chef Martin Berasategui in Tenerife both won two stars for the first time, while Ferran Adria’s brother Albert won a star for his Barcelona eaterie Tickets.
In Andalucia, Almeria restaurant Alejandro in Roquetas de Mar won a star back having lost it last year, while all four Malaga restaurants with stars (El Lago, Skina, Calima and Jose Carlos Garcia) maintained them.
Dani Garcia, who is set to move to Hotel Puente Romano next year, maintained his two star status with Calima.
One Andalucia chef Angel Leon, of Aponiente, in El Puerto de Santa Maria, was left disappointed after critics wrongly claimed he would get two stars.
In total Spain saw a significant leap in its success this year, seeing the country’s eateries land 171 stars, compared to 158 last year.
Portugal only had two new stars to celebrate, one for Eleven in Lisbon and one for L´And Vineyarsa in Montemor-o-Novo.