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Spain and José, Together Again

April 2016

It’s nighttime in Spain’s rainy province of Asturias, and Chef José Andrés is wandering the streets of the capital, Oviedo, mid-way through his latest journey back to his homeland. José stops by the city’s statue of Woody Allen. It’s a popular landmark downtown, an homage to the director who famously loves Oviedo and featured it in his movie “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”.

Picture time? Why not! José throws his arm on Woody’s shoulder and mugs for the camera. Josh Whigham, an R&D chef team member at ThinkFoodGroup who’s joined José for the trip, follows suit.

The camera roll in José’s phone is filling up fast. He already has photos with Rafael Anson, President of the Royal Academy of Spanish Gastronomy, from when they warmly greeted each other in Spain’s capital of Madrid. Anson presented José with the Tourism Merit Medal for Internationalization, awarded by Spain’s government in recognition of José’s efforts promoting Spain’s culture and cuisine abroad.

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Frankly, though, most of José’s pictures are of food. Like amazing dishes from his meal at Asador Etxebarri, the vision of grill master Victor Arguinzoniz nestled in the Basque countryside. Just a look at the pulpitos, baby octopus served with an ink reduction, make clear why the restaurant is ranked among Restaurant Magazine’s 50 best in the world.

Etxebarri pulpitos via Ruben.jpg

Still more snaps capture the Peruvian-inspired delights from a meal at Pakta, the Barcelona restaurant by his friends Albert and Ferran Adrià.

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But nothing tops the whimsy of the window display at the Adriàs’ restaurant Tickets. “Most Willy Wonka Place in the WORLD?” tweeted José. “Bar Tickets, from none other than Albert Adrià, the most technically perfect world chef!”

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Barcelona Tickets via Jose.jpg