He has not lost his Extremaduran accent and he has spent almost half of his life in
. "If you hear me speak in English ... That is enough to laugh." Well no. It turns out that the British not only do not laugh at his leave, but they seem hooked on him, based on the response generated by his presence on
BBC cooking shows
, where he has collaborated for years.
(Talaván, Cáceres, 1971) walks these days happily and superbly, well, as always. "I often
say that I'm never going to get into trouble again
." But he ignores himself: "I'm going hard," adds the chef.
has a name:
Poster Bay by José
José Pizarro at the RA
, the two new gastronomic spaces that will open this August in central London and at the
Royal Academy of Arts
(RA), one of the world's great artistic institutions, with 250 years of history.
Two establishments that are added to the three it already has in the capital of Támesis,
José Tapas Bar
, and the rural pub
The Swan Inn
, in Esher.
With his fifties around him and feeling "at the culmination of my career", he is one step away from fulfilling a dream by uniting his two great passions:
cooking and contemporary art
The Royal Academy of Arts, London.
A traditional cuisine, simple, without artifice and with the
Spanish product as a flag
Or, what is the same, José Pizarro in its purest form and a style that has led him to conquer the palate and stomach of Londoners.
"95% of my clients are British or not Spanish, because if there is something here, it is diversity."
In a week the tests begin and in three the new concepts will start: one,
around the lid
another, a dining room with a less informal format.
"At the bottom, in an area full of posters of the Royal Academy of Arts, is
Poster Bay by José
. It is the classic village cafe, where you go in the morning to have coffee, a pincho of tortilla, a Toast, a croissant and other little things like that. And, from 12 noon, the tapas: hot meatballs, selection of cheeses, bikini, Russian salad, Galician empanada stuffed with tuna, straws .... Come on,
a Spanish bar
It is more typical only in my town, but within the Royal Academy of Arts, "he laughs.
José Tapas Bar, the first restaurant that the chef and businessman opened in London.
Upstairs, in a space with towering walls - "they are
eight meters high!
And with impressive windows" -,
José Pizarro at the RA
"We will serve tasty, simple things: Iberian ham and Cinco Jotas Iberian presa; red prawns from the Mediterranean ... Practically, the same thing that I have been doing all my life in the United Kingdom:
quality product at all times
, a product that speaks for itself. itself".
-Is this double opening, which coincides with the tenth anniversary of José Tapas Bar y Pizarro, a sign that the normality that the Covid snatched from us is getting closer and closer?
-I think so. Here the masks are almost
although we will continue to maintain them, just like the distance. It is to feel safe, so that our team and, above all, our clients are. Hopefully there is no setback and return to full normality soon.
José cites other symptoms.
"Since we opened our restaurants in May we are at full capacity, at
. People want to go out, to enjoy ... To push forward."
An expression that is part of the chef's vocabulary and biography.
Forward when the first closure of the country was declared.
"In two weeks I was already making boxes, involved with the
(to finish at home) and selling food everywhere. In five months I only had one day off, with that I tell you everything."
Iberian pork Cinco Jotas, one of the chef's classic dishes.
Forward when time passed and the
reopening did not come
. "Thinking about it. I haven't stopped, I've been working my whole life, it's what I like and what I enjoy." Forward when
the pandemic and Brexit
became traveling companions. "It has been difficult, especially at the beginning. The biggest problem is the staff. I am opening normally, but there are places that only do it two or three days a week. People cannot come to work, we have to
sponsor them. , open licenses
... It is very complicated. It was known that it would happen, but they wanted Brexit, because it takes Brexit. And it is not over. Now, more or less we can maintain
, although it is clear that they will go up. Either way, you have to work hard and push forward. "And enjoy." In this time I have learned that you have to live in the present, because
without you noticing. Yes, we have had a bad time, but we have to live today ".
- the one around the corner, August 11 - are the two restaurants at the Royal Academy of Arts, right in Piccadilly.
"I've seen the blueprints with directions to the address. On the left, the name of
[one of the most influential contemporary British artists whose exhibition,
The Arrival of Spring, Normandy, 2020
, runs until September at the RA] On the right, mine. What more could you ask for! It's a pride.
I have worked hard
[worked in restaurants like Eyre Brothers, Brindisa and Gaudí, before opening their own place, José Tapas Bar in 2011] and I continue to do so ".
Hake in green sauce.
What remains of that young man from Talaván who, with barely 50,000 pesetas in his pocket, came to London to learn English? What I was and what I am remains. I have not lost my roots and that is the most important thing. I have been culturally enriched thanks to my many friends. I am very lucky, I have a partner I love; I have had experiences that I never thought I was going to have; I have enjoyed a lot and I hope that I still have much more to enjoy. How were the beginnings? Fucked, imagine not speaking English. I only knew how to say "Hello! I'm looking for a job" and I don't think I was understood. I arrived with a lot of desire to know different cultures and culinary techniques, because 23 years ago in Madrid there was not the diversity that there is today. Without mastering the language, it costs a little more,but people immediately opened the door for me and gave me the opportunity to show what we have in Spain, which is so much ... In return, he taught them to ...... Eat Iberian ham and prawns, among other things. The British likes to learn and for me it was white and bottled. What do you want to learn? Here I am with the Spanish product as a flag. They gave me the opportunity and I took it. They have been very good to me and have loved me very much. I am more Spanish and more Extremaduran than acorns, but London is my home. Apart from Brexit, they have made me feel at home, and he became an ambassador or godfather, as he likes to say, of Spanish gastronomy and its products ... When I arrived twenty-some years ago, here they used olive oil to clean the ears. I have a collection of oils,And when they ask me which one is more expensive than I have bought, I always say that a 50 ml stale one that I bought in a pharmacy for 5 pounds. I have been fortunate to be one of the first to arrive and show them things they did not know. For example, I was the first to put Iberian pork meat - undercooked - in one of the restaurants where I worked. That was 20 years ago, and today they sell Iberian meat in supermarkets ... It is not as good as mine, which is from Cinco Jotas, but for me it is a joy.and today they sell Iberian meat in supermarkets ... It is not as good as mine, which is from Cinco Jotas, but for me it is a joy.and today they sell Iberian meat in supermarkets ... It is not as good as mine, which is from Cinco Jotas, but for me it is a joy.
Enjoy, professionally and personally.
This is how this
who one day was trapped by the stoves.
Cheerful, congenial people, expansive, he has had "many teachers": "
, although I have never cooked with him, well, once in his
, he has taught me a lot about how to be in life.
Julio Reoyo and Inma
(El Mesón de Doña Filo, in Colmenar del Arroyo, Madrid, where he learned much of what he knows today), whom I love for what they are, family. "
The roster continues: chef
, British food guru;
, British cookbook writer and cultural anthropologist.
"She is a friend who, more than culinary techniques, has taught me how to live and how to enjoy. They are all good people, which is what I want to have around me."
It comes from the land of conquerors. After winning over the British, aren't you tempted to do the same with the Spaniards in Spain? Some time ago I had the idea of opening a rural hotel in my land or in Andalusia and, for now, the idea has remained there. But I have never thought of opening a restaurant in Spain, and now it is clearer than ever. I have to focus on my four businesses and the other two that I am going to open. All I want is for people to enjoy my restaurants and leave happy, especially after what we've been through. I do not want more. In the kitchen, is there anything that resists you? I do Spanish cuisine, the rest I prefer to eat outside. I can prepare a fresh pasta ... But, for example, cook Chinese, nope. For that I go to the restaurants here, which are very good and very diverse.Let the professionals do it and I enjoy it.What do you cook at home? Rice, roasts, a good steak with potatoes, vegetables ... I take care of the salty ones and Peter, my partner, of the cakes and cakes.- Still, it is 'multitasking': restaurants, television, cookbooks ... Do you have anything left to do? I have practically done what I wanted. I think my team and I have to be very proud of what we have achieved and push forward. For me, the most important thing is to feel that I can continue doing things and be happy, with my partner and my two dogsIs there anything left for you to do? I've practically done what I wanted. I think my team and I have to be very proud of what we have achieved and push forward. For me, the most important thing is to feel that I can continue doing things and be happy, with my partner and my two dogsIs there anything left for you to do? I've practically done what I wanted. I think my team and I have to be very proud of what we have achieved and push forward. For me, the most important thing is to feel that I can continue doing things and be happy, with my partner and my two dogs
We left him there, happy and super-ally, but stealing time -always- a day to talk to his mother.
"We do it twice on FaceTime: once in the morning and once at night. My mother is the best. I have given her a phone and, at 88, she sends me photos on WhatsApp."
Burlington House, Piccadilly (London).
Poster Bar by José
, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (without reservation).
José Pizarro at the RA
, from 11:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
(reservations at: email@example.com).
According to the criteria of The Trust Project
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