Meet the chef: Michelin star culinary superstar Sergi Sanz Blanco
Sergi Sanz Blanco is head chef at Ametsa with Arzak Instruction based in London’s The Halkin hotel. The Spanish restaurant opened in 2013 and holds one coveted Michelin star. Sergi grew up in Barcelona and has had a rich career working for top Spanish chefs including the legendary Ferran Adria and Michelin-starred Fermi Puig.
Natasha Heard, food and drink editor at Luxury Lifestyle Magazine, talks to Sergi about his culinary background, his favourite restaurants and what it’s like to hold a prestigious Michelin star.
What is so inspiring about Spain’s Basque region and how do you translate this niche cuisine to London?
Spain’s Basque cuisine is all about respect. They respect the sources, traditions and what chefs learned from their predecessors. To adapt to London we must respect the locality, source good quality locally sourced produce from land and sea and use these ingredients to create a Basque recipe.
What or who inspired you to be become a chef?
As a teenager I would help to prepare my families dinner which opened my eyes to possibilities there are when cooking, it fascinated me!
What would be your food heaven and hell?
Food heaven à Cooking with the same people that will join me to eat what we have prepared which would be any kind of rice or pulse’s stew with plenty of fresh bread on the side. Food hell à leftovers from the previous day, alone and without bread.
What does a Michelin star mean to you?
Mainly to feel part of an excellent group of chefs.
Tell us about your favourite ingredient that you like to work with?
Tomato in season. It is one of the most complex ingredients while being versatile and delicate.
What’s your favourite restaurant in the world?
Arzak in San Sebastian. It is part of my life.
What would you say is your signature dish?
I love to cook rice in any way, not just paella.
What is the single most important thing you have learnt about food?
That every single ingredient needs to be explored before being part of a dish. That knowledge will guide you to achieve the right balance and even to create your own philosophy as a chef.