José Pizarro’s Last Bites

The Span­ish chef would head home to Spain for a huge fi­esta with friends and fam­ily

The Guardian - Cook - - Front Page - José Pizarro José Pizarro’s restau­rant will open in Lon­don’s Broadgate Cir­cus in April.

I’d go home, to the house I grew up in. It’s in Talaván, a small vil­lage in the Ex­tremadura re­gion of Spain – the house my mother still lives in. That’s where we al­ways have our fam­ily gath­er­ings and cel­e­bra­tions.

It’s a very typ­i­cal Span­ish house, over­look­ing the main square. Ev­ery morn­ing, you can watch all the ladies go­ing to buy bread. My par­ents have never lived any­where else, and my dream is to build my own home there too, with a big cel­lar and a veg­etable gar­den nearby, just like my fa­ther.

I’d want to bring to­gether ev­ery­one who has ever been im­por­tant to me. I have a lot of friends … There’d be a thou­sand peo­ple! It would be a way of say­ing thank you.

We’d start with plenty of seafood and Iberico ham, with a nice glass of Tio Pepe. Sherry and ham is such a per­fect mar­riage of flavours.

The smell of my mother’s baby goat stew would fill the house. It would have been cooking slowly all morn­ing, and we would en­joy it with red wine and veg­eta­bles from my fa­ther’s gar­den. It was al­ways such a high­light, go­ing down to pick his toma­toes dur­ing the sum­mer, or his or­anges in the win­ter.

Sherry and ham is such a per­fect mar­riage of flavours

There’d be cake, and my mother’s creme caramel. And leche frita – fried custard – with a glass of Pe­dro Ximenez from Fer­nando de Castilla. It’s a sweet wine, thick with raisins, like Christ­mas pud­ding in a glass. Af­ter that I’d have a glass of cava, and a big gin and tonic!

If it were the sea­son though, I’d be just as happy with a plate of or­anges, dressed with olive oil. We love sim­ple things. My fa­ther would of­ten have mint in a vase near the ta­ble, a bowl of quince and some or­ange blos­som, fill­ing the house with beau­ti­ful aro­mas.

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