Meet the chef: Abraham Artigas of Michelin starred restaurant Terra on the Costa Brava
Just under two hours away from bustling Barcelona lies the luxurious gated community of S’Agaró. One of the stunning properties within this Costa Brava resort town is the Alàbriga Hotel & Home Suites. The five-star all-suite hotel benefits from pristine views of the Sant Pol beach, a wellbeing zone and spa, an outdoor pool, and spectacular dining options.
The hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant Terra perfectly encapsulates the best of regional cuisine and traditions. With tasting menus featuring dishes like suckling pig with tamarindo and duck with scarlet shrimp, Terra is an ingredients-led destination that showcases top Catalonian fare.
Food writer Ina Yulo spoke with head chef Abraham Artigas to learn more about his role in bringing delicious and authentic food to the seaside refuge.
You initially trained to become a sound engineer. What was it that made you decide to pivot your career and go into the food industry?
It was an accident. I have always enjoyed cooking at home, but when I was 20 years old and needed to work during the summer, a friend offered me a job with him as a kitchen porter. Suddenly, I fell in love with the industry.
What is a dish or ingredient that you discovered through your travels that absolutely captivated you?
I’m a huge fan of Nam Pla fish sauce from Southeast Asia. In the Mediterranean, we have something similar called “garum” from the Romans. It’s basically a salted, fermented fish stock that adds deeper notes to flavours. I use it in many different ways.
I discovered a lot of dishes from around the world, for example, sfogliatella riccia from Naples, pão de Deus in Lisbon, tapioca crepes in Brazil, and mango sticky rice in Thailand.
What are some of the common misconceptions people have about Spanish food?
First of all, you CAN’T add chorizo in the paella! Now seriously, we are more than tapas, sangría or paella. If you want to know the real Spanish food, you must escape from the restaurants in tourist zones. Spain is a country with many different styles, but you have to travel and eat all across the country to truly discover [the cuisine].
What are some of the traditional dishes you grew up eating in Mallorca?
I was born in Zaragoza and moved to Mallorca when I was 14. My mother’s family is from Andalusia. I have family in Ibiza, Zaragoza, Jaén, Madrid, and Berlin. The food on my mother’s kitchen table was always from many different place, but on the island, I eat a lot of empanada de carne con guisantes (lamb meat pie with peas), trampó (the delicious and easiest salad in the world), sopas mallorquinas (seasonal vegetable and bread stew), and arròs brut (a soupy rice with different vegetables, chicken, rabbit or pork and mushrooms).
Why did you decide to make the move to head up the kitchen at Terra?
It was an easy decision. It was a big opportunity for my career.
If you could describe the menu at Terra in three words, what would they be?
Mediterranean contemporary cuisine
What do you love most about working at Alàbriga Hotel & Home Suites?
The best thing is being able to work in one of the best equipped kitchens in Spain. It is good to also work with the great quality products that we can find around the hotel.
What are some of your favourite things to do on the Costa Brava?
When I’m not in the kitchen, I love to ride my motorcycle. Costa Brava is full of beautiful roads between the mountains and the sea. Of course, eating very well and drinking natural wines is a very good option.
If you could pick one person to dine at Terra, who would it be and what would you serve them?
My grandmother, for sure. She passed away a few years ago and I was always with her in the kitchen. I think she was the best chef in the world. I would make her the dishes that inspired me to cook with the food that she cooked for me like “My Grandmother Salad”: a salad made with beans, vegetables, egg yolk, and mustard dressing or a little chicken stuffed with minced pork meat, Iberian ham, raisins and pine nuts.
What is a dish that you currently have on the menu that is not easily found at other restaurants in the area?
In Terra, we cook (more or less) with the same ingredients as the rest of the restaurants in the area, but in my personal style. For that reason, I don’t think it’s easy to find something similar nearby.
Address: Alàbriga Hotel & Home Suites, Carretera de Sant Pol, 633, 17220 Sant Feliu de Guíxols, Girona, Spain
Phone: +34 872 200600