24 Apr, 2023 @ 18:47
3 mins read

CULINARY ‘BOOM’: Exciting event sees Spain’s leading Michelin-starred chefs visit Andalucia for cooking extravaganza for kids charity

Expat Pupil Adrianna Rose Morton, 6, And Pal With What’s Left Of Their Gourmet Pudding

OVER three dozen of Spain’s leading Michelin-starred chefs have gathered together to support underprivileged children around Spain.

The 37 culinary stars were joined by 150 kids, including various expats, from three local schools in Andalucia to support the Chefs for Children charity.

Triple-Michelin chefs, including Elena Arzak and Angel Leon, were joined by the best from around Spain at the Costa del Sol event.

Andalucia’s own celebrated cooks, including Paco Morales, Diego del Rio and Diego Gallegos, were put in charge of a dozen healthy recipes at Anantara Villa Padierna Spa hotel, in Benahavis.

Cribbing from recipes pegged out on each table, the groups of kids were guided by a handful of chefs per table.

Whether it be shelling peanuts, making a guacamole sauce or mixing fruits for a gourmet dessert, there were smiles all around.

Wearing cobalt blue chefs hats and ‘Sabor a Malaga’ pinafores, they got properly stuck in, getting their hands dirty in the midday sun. 

Diego Guerrero Explains Peanut Shelling At Chefs For Children

One expat pupil, Adrianna Rose Morton, 6, who attends local Daidin College, in Benahavis, was ‘super excited’ about being there.

Showing off her (half eaten) dessert, a beaming smile, minus her front two teeth, she insisted she had ‘learnt a lot’.

The main thing she had picked up from her cookery teachers, including Diego del Rio, from nearby Ronda, was ‘you need a lot of concentration’.

The kids were aided by older pupils from Benahavis’ own cookery school and Le Cordon Bleu school, in Madrid, while sponsors included Porsche, Joselito ham and the Diputacion de Malaga.

“It makes me very proud to see this amazing display of positivity,” local chef Fernando Villasclaras, of El Lago, who heralds from nearby Nerja, told the Olive Press. “Apart from the annual Michelin gala in November, you will never see so many of the country’s leading chefs together and everyone is having so much fun.”

“Events like this prove to the world that when it comes to cooking, Andalucia is also very much on the map now,” added Diego del Rio, who cooks at Marbella’s top-rated Boho Club.

This was a continual theme brought up by the chefs who came from all around Spain, including Ibiza, the Basque Region and Catalunya.

Paco Manzano And Oscar Molino With Chefs For Children

“The big revolution in Spanish cuisine is taking place here in Andalucia,” insisted double starred Nacho Manzana, who has seven restaurants in the Asturias region. “I have been cooking with chefs from the south for 25 years who are so talented, but the region kept getting overlooked.

“It was always going to finally get noticed, thanks to their talents, variety of ingredients and amazing climate. It is finally happening.”

Navarra chef David Yarnoz, of Molino de Urdaniz, agreed. “Andalucian gastronomy has just got better and better. There are so many great places to eat now and it’s growing by the year.”

Valencia’s famous female Begona Rodrigo, in particular, singled out Ronda’s Bardal restaurant and three Michelin star Aponiente, in el Puerto de Santa Maria, in Cadiz, as her favourites.

“But I love coming down to the south of Spain now, particularly Cadiz, for all the fun, the guitars, the partying. Andalucia was always the region with the most soul but now it also has great places to eat.”

Fina Puigd Inspires Her All Girl Team

Still Andalucia’s top-rated chef on paper with three Michelin stars, Angel Leon, agreed that since the Olive Press first interviewed him (he didn’t have a star back then) and ate his food 14 years ago, there has been a ‘total boom’.

“The change over the last five to ten years is remarkable. High end gourmet tourists are now specifically coming from abroad to eat with us, even instead of a trip to the Basque region or Catalunya.

“It is a dream come true. We always had the ingredients and now so many of our local chefs know how to finally use them.”

But there is still a long way to go, believes two-Michelin star Paco Morales, from Cordoba’s highly-rated Noor. In particular, with the local market.

“Not enough local people realise how many different spices and recipes originally come from Andalucia, including cumin and azahar (orange blossom).

Three Michelin Star Angel Leon Tries His Pupils Food

“There are so many amazing local recipes, which still need to be better promoted.”

Organiser, Pilar Candil insisted the event had been a ‘huge success’.

With over 300 punters paying 350 euros to eat at the Gala Dinner at the five-star Padierna ballroom in the evening, it’s hard not to agree.

“It is raising a lot of money for a great cause and doing so much to promote our local Malaga chefs,” explained Pilar,whose husband Angel Pardo, was the marketing boss for Michelin Spain for years.

“There are eight local Malaga chefs cooking for us tonight and I am sure they will do us all proud.”

The event is in aid of the Pequeno Deseo Foundation, founded in 2000.


Jon Clarke (Publisher & Editor)

Jon Clarke is a Londoner who worked at the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday as an investigative journalist before moving permanently to Spain in 2003 where he helped set up the Olive Press. He is the author of three books; Costa Killer, Dining Secrets of Andalucia and My Search for Madeleine.

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