FUENGIROLA-BORN chef Juanjo Carmona has won a top national prize for creating the best seafood dish in Spain.
Carmona is the man behind the Cavala restaurant in the Soho area of Malaga which opened over four years ago.
He was victorious in the third-ever ‘Sea Cooking’ contest organised by Madrid Fusion Alimentos de España as part of their three-day festival celebrating Spanish gastronomy.
His achievement also means that the competition has been won by Malaga province chefs since its inception.
Carmona’s dish to impress the judging panel was garlic bream.
“I had to bring something that represented what we do and that’s why I didn’t hesitate about this recipe which is very similar to that of garlic chicken, with thyme, rosemary, and roasted garlic, but swapping the meat for the fish and using its bones for the sauce,” said the chef.
He added that it gave him some extra personal satisfaction to see off some of his Malaga area rivals.
At the age of 16 he began his career at the ‘Tragabuches’ restaurant in Ronda, working with Dani García, at the the two-Michelin-starred establishment.
All of his produce at Cavala is locally sourced from the Malaga fish market.
Like in his award-winning dish, he prides himself on using all parts of the fish and to be always innovative to put himself at the forefront of Malaga and Andalucian cuisine.