Interview: Andoni Luis Aduriz
We spoke to chef and restaurateur Andoni Luis Aduriz, of Mugaritz near San Sebastian, which has two Michelin stars and has been voted fourth-best restaurant in the world. Andoni is now Gastronomic Adviser at the luxury healthcare hotel Healthouse Las Dunas in Estepona.
Andalucia.com: How did you achieve the right balance between healthy food, and the flavours of gastronomic haute cuisine as creative and innovative as yours, for this new concept? Was it an easy task?
Andoni Luis Aduriz: Clearly it wasn’t easy, no, as we‘re all used to a style of cooking which has different aims. But if we bring together all of today’s knowledge with the techniques of haute cuisine, we can get some surprising results. In fact it’s worth bearing in mind that over the past few years haute cuisine has tried to incorporate the concept of healthy eating into its dishes.
AC: What are your preferred healthy eating ingredients for the Healthouse Las Dunas menus?
ALA: Seasonal products, local fish and seafood, and fibre, an essential part of a healthy, balanced diet.
AC: Which is your preferred dish from the hotel’s new menus?
ALA: We’ve developed around 100 dishes and many of them are really extraordinary. Just working with fowl, or seasonal vegetables, you can get some amazing results.
AC: What are you aiming for with these menus? What is your message for the hotel’s clients? Do you think that the challenge of creating these menus, has changed your way of thinking at all about the gastronomy of Mugaritz?
ALA: With Healthouse we are aiming to set a new standard in the concept of gourmet cuisine and health; I’m convinced that our offering is in a different league from anything similar on the market. The message we want to send to clients is that the pleasure of eating is not incompatible with well-being and health; indeed, they go perfectly together - feeling good and feeling pleasure when you eat. Obviously all the research and development work which we have done for Healthhouse has left its mark on us, but at Mugaritz we’ve always been highly aware of nutrition.
AC: What are the most important factors for making healthy food with plenty of flavour – the ingredients, how you prepare and cook them, or both?
ALA: Both factors, but also working with aspects like diversity and using psychology when designing the menu.
AC: What has been your inspiration for creating the hotel’s menu?
ALA: The archive of Mugaritz dishes, built up over 17 years of work, but also rethinking our cooking and eating habits.
AC: How many of the products come from the area immediately around the hotel? Which ones are they? Is using local products important to you?
ALA: One quality factor which sets us apart is working with what we term “singular” products. In this area we have some exquisite ones which we use to create high quality gastronomy. Fish, seafood, meat, shoots, flowers...
AC: What is your favourite local ingredient from this area – fish, seafood, fruit, meat?
ALA: The diversity - all of it.
AC: Which restaurants do you like eating at in the Marbella area?
ALA: That depends on my mood, who I’m with and the time of day. But I enjoy equally eating at Dani Garcia’s restaurant or a simple seaside bar with traditional recipes. Whenever I can, I go and find something new.
AC: How are Healthouse clients different from those of Mugaritz?
ALA: Healthouse clients are on a programme and we respond to the requirements of that programme. In Mugaritz we have total freedom and we aim to create a memorable experience, without limits.
After experiencing Androni Luis Aduriz´s exquisitely prepared menu at Healthouse Las Dunas, we had absolutely no complaints - delicious, heathy, low-calorie cuisine with spectacular sea views and beautiful surroundings.