A chef from the stars

Martín Ulloa September 2019 LIFESTYLE Read in PDF format N22/2019
MARTÍN BERASATEGUI The 10 Michelin stars chef takes the restaurant Etxeko, located at Bless Hotel Ibiza, to a culinary philosophy where good food adapts to the new times.

You are in charge of the haute cuisine space at the BLESS Collection Hotels with Etxeko. What is the concept behind it?

Thanks to Etxeko, after more than four decades in this lovely profession, I can manage a restaurant that brings me back to my roots, to the food house run by my parents and my aunt, where I was raised. It was place where food was cooked for family and friends. The name “Etxeko” says it all: “from home”.


You inaugurated the first Etxeko at the BLESS Hotel Madrid. What have you brought now to Ibiza?

A wide variety of dishes, full of wisdom, the most select ingredients and materials, and the most diverse flavors, all with a nod to Ibiza.


Traditional Basque flavors interpreted through avant-garde techniques are present in your kitchen. How is homemade cuisine elevated to a sublime level?

Knowing that fake trends die quickly and also that every recipe should have a good foundation. Exceptional traditional dishes can be made the same way that innovative, delicious gastronomic creations can be. The creative or innovative kitchen has no doors – that’s what makes it wonderful and charming. So sometimes that same place originates in new


preparation methods and shocking techniques, and other times in discovering original ingredients or other variants.


What dishes would you highlight from the menu?

It’s hard for me to choose them because they all have a story and I love them all. For example, the “charcoaled hake with Iberian bacon over fennel, watercress emulsion, bonbons of fresh olive sprouts”, “Martin’s Carbonara”, “Lasarte Salad”,...


There are some recipes that have been with you for a long time. Are any of them at Etxeko?

Of course! The classic “Caramelized foie puff pastry, smoked European eel and green apple”, amongst others.


What does Etxeko bring to a place like Ibiza?

It gives me the chance to create a meeting place where we can meet the people who we want to build unforgettable moments with: a point of reference on the island of Ibiza, in a one-of-a-kind place, an extraordinary environment which is BLESS Hotel Ibiza.


The island could use some more Michelin stars and you land here with 10. What have all the prizes and recognition given you?

Those prizes are recognition of a lot of responsibility but, at the same time, infinite happiness and motivation. They drive me. I usually say: so not to lose the 10th star, I have to go for the 11th. And that’s the attitude that keeps you on top in the food world. That’s my philosophy.


At a time when cuisine is so globalized, should we have our roots more present than ever?

I always say that the more roots a tree has, the more rooted it is to the earth. And I apply the same to people. I’m the same Martintxo who wandered around the streets of the old City. And I’m sure of this: I will leave my mark as a chef, but who they’re going to remember is Martin the person. I’m the best I can be as a professional, but I’m also still the same person with the same ways and manners that my parents instilled in me. What I most want people to remember is that I’m a authentic dude.






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