In his new TV show, celebrity chef José Andrés walks into a restaurant kitchen in Spain and confronts a huge moray eel. Only one of them leaves this kitchen intact.
Andrés oversees as the cooks prepare the eel for its final flourishing – deboned, sliced like paper-thin, dredged in three kinds of flour, then fried with cilantro.
“People of the world, I know that you generally don’t eat eel. But if you try it, you’ll love it,” he tells viewers. “Nothing can be simpler and more sophisticated at the same time.”
This eel is just a delicious moment in Discovery+’s ‘José Andrés and his family in Spain’, which follows the chef, restaurateur and humanitarian on a food tour through his homeland with his three US-raised daughters. United, Carlota, Inés and Lucia Andrés.
The ladies join their father as they visit places such as Barcelona, Madrid, Andalucia, Valencia, the Canary Islands and Asturias, where he was born and where food, he says, made him what he was. ‘It is. It’s a travel show, a cooking show and a parenting show, all wrapped up in a celebration of Spain and proud fatherhood.
“I think going with my dad and going to all these places was so special because he’s such a curious person,” Carlota Andrés said in a recent interview with her dad at Bazaar, the rooftop bar in the city. elder Andrés at the Ritz. -Carlton in New York. “He’s the kind of person he is and no trip is the same if he’s not there.”
Everywhere, the contagious and bubbling spirit of José Andrés, a whirlwind of passion for food and respect for its origin. He applauds both the deconstructive brilliance of the august El Bulli restaurant and also the humble street food.
The tapas turn out to be the perfect reflection of his food philosophy – going from place to place eating lots of things, cold and hot, fish, meat and vegetables – and making a celebration of ingredients, hard work and life.
“If I were the president of the world, I would make it compulsory for every person to go around the world for a year of their life – from one country to another, from one culture to another, from one continent to each other. If we all did that, the world would be a magical place. That’s what this show celebrates,” he says.
In Barcelona, José and his daughters ride electric scooters around the city, popping into restaurants, markets and cafes while dad hugs his old culinary friends, providing a delicious insider tour that includes tapas, red prawns , sparkling wine and croquettes.
The elder Andrés – who brought attention to Spanish cuisine and helped shine a light on humanitarian disasters with his World Central Kitchen – can hardly contain himself. “He’s already in the kitchen creating havoc,” commented one of his daughters.
In Andalusia, we drink the famous summer vegetable soup gazpacho and we taste various dishes, highlighting bluefin tuna, a local specialty. They celebrate the North African influence on the region in dishes like ham and eggs with artichokes and grilled lamb skewers.
“Happiness happens when you mix different people, different colors and different places on one plate,” says José Andrés on screen. In another moment, he offers this magnificent challenge: “Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you who you are.”
There’s flamenco dancing and a trip to buy treats prepared by secret, cloistered nuns – dubbed the family’s ‘spirit cookie moment’. The girls try their hand at making churros and later a shrimp fritter called Tortillitas de camarones. They milk goats, harvest salt from tidal pools, go paragliding and scuba dive for barnacles, known in Spain as percebes.
All the while, José Andrés is a hot man for Spanish food, playfully claiming that surf and turf, pizza, open-faced sandwiches called tostas, and beer were all concocted in his homeland, and that Spanish versions of crème brûlée and prosciutto are vastly superior to versions from other countries. “Everything was invented in Spain!” he shouts.
“I think every culture should be proud of who they are and even chauvinistic about it. In my case, sometimes I push it to the extreme”, he explains later. “Defend yours, defend what you know. In a way, you celebrate everyone.
Spicy potato patatas bravas, glasses of sangria and pyramids of royal pastries were on the menu in Madrid, while Valencia treated travelers to the best paella in the world. “You think you’ve tasted the real thing – think again,” the chief viewers warns.
The family hopes the series will inspire other families to get out and explore, especially after the pandemic. “Spain is the excuse,” says José Andrés. “Sometimes we have the most exciting things in front of our eyes.”
“You can step into the Chesapeake Bay and experience an incredible moment of discovery. You can go to Virginia and experience Virginia wine country. Everyone thinks you have to go to the most remote parts of your world. The effervescence is not in the places. The excitement is within you.