Ever since I was tiny, when I saw my mother
cooking, it was almost instinctive to be in the kitchen. From that point on
I knew what I wanted to do. My name’s Javier Álvarez.
I’m the executive chef at the Zoko Group. Right now we’re here in Zoko Madrid, which is one
of the six restaurants we have all over Spain. People say our cuisine is impossible to pigeonhole,
because it doesn’t have a distinctive style. The most important thing for me is the raw ingredient. I believe inspiration comes from always being
on the lookout, constantly investigating and putting ourselves to the test, that feeling that
you could always do it better, and that we should create that experience for all our customers
who’ve been following us in the Zoko Group for a long time. I think one of the most important
things is to be able to go to the source, choose the product, savour it, smell it,
really know what it is you’re going to eat, and above all what we’re going to serve. Hi Jose!
Hello! How are things? Hello! How are you?
Good morning. We’ve come to make a recipe. We’ve been
told you have the best figs anywhere. This recipe we want to make involves taking
the fresh fig and making a powder. We want to dehydrate it. Has this fig the right characteristics?
It has the characteristics because of the area it’s from and because of the properties and firmness.
The aroma is wonderful… The aroma’s amazing, Jose. We’re going to cut some of
them up and apply heat, and others will be added fresh. That’s it: the perfect fig.
This one, right? Looks fantastic! What a stunner, eh José?
This is just what I was looking for. Quite small, a fig with no irrigation apart from the rain.
Has the perfect water, just the right amount… What’s more, because this is an area with no
irrigation, it’s going to be much easier to dehydrate it later. I think that with the tuna, that
touch of sweetness will make the perfect combination. Fantastic! You’ve got the best figs. I think it’s wonderful to have the opportunity to come
here to the Sierra de Gredos, to this natural setting, and choose your own fruit and a product
like this because not many people can do that to create a dish for our restaurants. Right, we’re done Jose. Let’s go,
and make our recipe. Here we have one of the most exclusive
parts of the “almadraba” wild tuna, which is the tuna we use in our restaurants.
This is the best tuna in the world. And, well, after being in the Sierra de Gredos
yesterday we wanted to do something.. something different, something spectacular. The name may sound a little strange, but it’s called
“Tuna Pornography”. It’s a board with different cuts of tuna in which we play with the textures and
tastes, and which finally, with the name and its visual presentation, I think offers
a really special experience. With the combination of this fig that
we’ve dehydrated, the powder that will really enhance this dish, we’ve managed
simply to conjure up the countryside where we were yesterday…
Our aim was for the dish we’ve created to be something really special, really flavourful.
We wanted to achieve a concept that gastronomically seemed to be beyond our reach,
to create a sensation of “biting the dust”. This was a challenge for us, because it had always been seen
as something negative, and we wanted to show people that being able to “bite the dust”
can just be fantastic. I think it’s very important to try new things and
to constantly put yourself to the test. The idea is to be constantly thinking that you can
improve, you can always do things differently, nothing is set in stone, everything changes…
Everything can be improved.