"From San Sebastian to the World: A Culinary Odyssey"

"Constantly innovate while honoring tradition."

Bio of Chef Paulo Airaudo

Born in Córdoba, Argentina, to a family of Italian immigrants, Paulo Airaudo’s culinary journey began at 18 when he left home to explore the world of gastronomy. His career spans prestigious kitchens worldwide, including Arzak in San Sebastián, The Fat Duck in London, and Magnolia in Italy. In May 2015, he opened La Bottega in Geneva, earning a Michelin star within four months. In 2017, Airaudo opened Amelia in San Sebastián, achieving its first Michelin star within seven months and a second soon after.

Airaudo’s vision for Amelia is to create an unparalleled dining experience that celebrates the harmony of flavors and the artistry of cuisine. His dedication to sourcing the finest ingredients and innovative approach have solidified Amelia’s reputation among top dining establishments.

The Cuisine at Amelia ** Two Stars Michelin Restaurant

Amelia’s cuisine is a dynamic fusion of Basque, Italian, and Asian influences. The restaurant’s tasting menu is a culinary journey showcasing seasonal and meticulously sourced ingredients. Each dish is a testament to Airaudo’s commitment to quality and creativity, offering diners an unforgettable experience in an intimate, elegant setting.

The Paulo Airaudo Group

Beyond Amelia, Chef Paulo Airaudo has expanded his culinary empire with several notable restaurants around the world:

  • Aleia * One Star Michelin Restaurant in Barcelona, located in the luxurious Hotel Casa Fuster, offers a fresh fine dining experience and earned its first Michelin star in 2022.
  • La Bottega di Filippo in San Sebastián, a vibrant spot for Italian wines, spritz, and daily-made fresh pasta.
  • 1985 Cantina Argentina in San Sebastián, an Argentine restaurant that combines traditional grilling techniques with a relaxed, retro atmosphere.
  • Da Filippo in San Sebastián, an Italian restaurant known for its high-quality local and Italian products, reinterpreted with a contemporary twist.
  • Noi ** Two Star Michelin Restaurant in Hong Kong’s Four Seasons Hotel, offering a unique blend of modern European techniques and global ingredients.
  • The Blind Pig in Hong Kong, a speakeasy cocktail bar with expertly crafted classic cocktails.
  • Amelia Hong Kong in Harbour City, showcasing modern European cuisine with seasonal menu changes and stunning city views.
  • El Bar de Villa Favorita in San Sebastián, offering local seasonal products and international dishes in a luxurious setting.
  • Luca’s in Florence, focusing on Florentine and Tuscan cuisine using fresh, local ingredients.
  • Ibai in San Sebastián, a revival of traditional Basque gastronomy, reopening in spring 2024.
  • Bianca New Concept opening- with new locations in Mexico City, Buenos Aires, and Miami, each showcasing Airaudo’s contemporary style and focus on fresh, local ingredients.

Culinary Close-Up

In the Kitchen with Chef Paulo Airaudo

All4Chefs reveals the secrets behind the culinary empire of Chef Paulo Airaudo, delving into the mind of this Culinary Genius.

Philosophical Foundations

What drives your passion for culinary excellence, and how did your journey begin?

–  My passion for culinary excellence is driven by using the finest ingredients and the curiosity to combine different techniques. All of this is to ensure the client enjoys every dish to the fullest.

How do your Italian-Argentinian roots influence your diverse culinary style?

–  My Italian-Argentinian roots primarily influence my modern Italian cuisine, which I enrich with Asian touches. This fusion creates a unique and diverse culinary style.

What philosophy underpins the creations at your various restaurants?

–  The philosophy underpinning the creations at my various restaurants is using the finest ingredients to make the most delicious dishes possible.

Inspiration and Concept

What inspired you to start each of your unique restaurant brands?

–  I was inspired to start each of my unique restaurant brands by a passion for exploring diverse culinary traditions and creating memorable dining experiences.

How do you decide on the concept and theme for each new restaurant?

– I decide on the concept and theme for each new restaurant by considering local culture, current dining trends, and my personal culinary interests.

 

What is the story behind the name of each of your restaurants, particularly Amelia and Bianca?

– “Bianca” is named after my third daughter, honoring her and reflecting the restaurant’s focus on purity and high-quality ingredients. And Amelia is dedicated to my first daughter Amelié, which to me means home and that I am here to stay.

 

Can you describe your process for creating a new dish and how you ensure it aligns with the restaurant’s theme?

–  My process for creating a new dish starts with selecting the finest seasonal ingredients, then experimenting with different flavor combinations and techniques. I ensure it aligns with the restaurant’s theme by maintaining the core essence of the cuisine and infusing it with innovative elements that enhance the dining experience.

 

How do you integrate global influences into your primarily Basque and Italian dishes?

–  I integrate global influences into my Italian dishes by incorporating spices, techniques, and ingredients from various cultures. This fusion enhances the traditional flavors and adds a unique twist to each dish, creating a harmonious blend of familiar and exotic tastes.

 

What role do modern cooking techniques play in your culinary approach, and how do they enhance your dishes?

–  Modern cooking techniques play a crucial role in my culinary approach, allowing for precision and creativity. Techniques such as sous-vide and advanced plating enhance the flavors, textures, and presentation of my dishes, providing a contemporary dining experience.

 

Who are your biggest culinary influences, and how have they shaped your approach to cooking?

–  My biggest culinary influences include renowned chefs like Juan Mari Arzak and Pedro Subijana. Their innovative approaches and dedication to pushing culinary boundaries have inspired me to experiment, innovate, and continuously elevate my cooking style.

New Openings

Bianca is your latest venture with new locations in Mexico City, Buenos Aires, and Miami. What can diners expect from this new brand?

–  Diners can expect a modern Italian dining experience at Bianca, characterized by the finest ingredients, innovative dishes, and a warm, inviting atmosphere. Each location will offer a menu that reflects my culinary philosophy of blending traditional Italian cuisine with contemporary touches and local influences.

 

What excites you most about opening Bianca in these diverse cities, and how will each location reflect its unique cultural influences?

–  The opportunity to engage with diverse culinary landscapes and local cultures. Each location will incorporate regional ingredients and flavors, creating a unique dining experience that honors both Italian traditions and the rich culinary heritage of each city.

Future Vision

What are your future plans for expanding your culinary empire?

–  My future vision is opening new restaurants in key cities across America, Asia, and Europe. I aim to introduce unique concepts that blend local flavors with my signature style, ensuring each new venture offers a distinct and memorable dining experience.

How do you envision the evolution of the Paulo Airaudo Group in the next decade?

–  In the next decade, I envision the Paulo Airaudo Group growing into a globally recognized brand known for innovation, quality, and exceptional dining experiences. We will continue to push culinary boundaries, embrace sustainability, and cultivate talent within our team to maintain our high standards across all our locations.

What new culinary trends are you most excited about exploring in your restaurants?

– I am most excited about exploring plant-based cuisine, fermentation techniques, and the integration of technology in the kitchen. These trends offer new possibilities for creativity and sustainability, allowing us to craft unique dishes that delight and surprise our guests.

Chef Paulo Airaudo’s global culinary empire showcases a blend of tradition, innovation, and quality. Each restaurant reflects his passion for excellence and creativity.

Explore more about Chef Paulo Airaudo and his culinary ventures here.

Amelia Two star michelin restaurant in San Sebastian Spain by Chef Paulo Airaudo-Close up with All4Chefs

Building the Empire

What were the biggest challenges you faced in building your culinary empire?

The biggest challenges I faced were maintaining consistency and quality across multiple locations, managing diverse teams, and constantly innovating to keep up with evolving culinary trends. Balancing creativity with business acumen was essential to overcoming these challenges.

How do you manage to maintain the high standards and unique concepts across all your restaurants?

–  I do this by implementing rigorous training programs, ensuring consistent quality control, and fostering a culture of excellence among my staff. Each restaurant follows core principles of quality and innovation while being encouraged to embrace its unique identity.

What is the secret ingredient behind your success?

–  The secret ingredient behind my success is a relentless commitment to quality and a genuine passion for creating memorable dining experiences. By always choosing the best ingredients and never lowering my standards, I ensure that every dish reflects my dedication to culinary excellence.

Amelia Two star michelin restaurant in San Sebastian Spain by Chef Paulo Airaudo-Close up with All4Chefs

Follow up Amelia Two Stars Michelin Restaurant

Signature Dishes and Secret Ingredients

Which dish best represents your culinary philosophy, and what makes it special?

– The dish that best represents my culinary philosophy is a beautifully crafted seafood platter. I love working with fish and shellfish because they offer a delicate balance of flavors and textures. This dish showcases the finest, freshest seafood, enhanced with innovative techniques to bring out their natural essence.

Do you have a secret ingredient or technique that you believe elevates your dishes?

–  My secret is always choosing the best ingredients and never compromising on quality. This commitment to excellence ensures that every dish I create is elevated and exceptional.

How do you ensure that each dish tells a unique story and provides a memorable experience?

–  I do that by selecting the finest ingredients and cooking them to perfection. This approach allows the natural flavors to shine and creates a dining experience that resonates with every guest.

Ingredient Sourcing and Sustainability

What is your approach to sourcing ingredients for your restaurants, and how do you maintain quality across different locations?

–  My approach to sourcing ingredients involves establishing strong relationships with trusted local suppliers and farmers who provide the freshest and highest quality produce. To maintain consistency across different locations, I ensure all my kitchens adhere to the same rigorous standards and regularly audit our supply chains to guarantee excellence.

How do you incorporate sustainability into your ingredient selection and overall restaurant operations?

–  I incorporate sustainability by prioritizing locally sourced, seasonal ingredients, reducing food waste, and selecting suppliers who practice ethical and sustainable farming. Additionally, we strive to minimize our environmental footprint through energy-efficient appliances and eco-friendly practices in our daily operations.

Can you share an example of a sustainable practice you’ve implemented in your kitchens?

–  One sustainable practice we’ve implemented is a comprehensive composting system. All organic kitchen waste is composted and used to enrich the soil for our local farmers, creating a closed-loop system that supports sustainable agriculture and reduces landfill waste.

The Michelin Stars Magic

What was your reaction upon receiving your first Michelin star, and how has that journey evolved with multiple stars?

–  Receiving my first Michelin star was an overwhelming and humbling experience. It was a recognition of the hard work and dedication of my entire team. With each additional star, the journey has evolved into a continuous pursuit of excellence and innovation, pushing the boundaries of culinary creativity while maintaining our high standards.

How do you maintain the consistency and high standards required to achieve and retain Michelin stars across different concepts?

–  Maintaining consistency and high standards involves rigorous training for my staff, meticulous attention to detail, and constant quality control. Each restaurant, regardless of its concept, adheres to the same core principles of excellence, ensuring every dish meets our exacting criteria.

What do you believe sets a Michelin-starred restaurant apart from others?

– A Michelin-starred restaurant stands apart due to its unwavering commitment to excellence in every aspect, from ingredient quality and innovative techniques to exceptional service and ambiance. It’s about creating a unique and memorable dining experience that consistently exceeds expectations.

Can you share some key strategies or principles that have helped you earn and sustain Michelin stars in your restaurants?

–  Key strategies include sourcing the finest ingredients, fostering a culture of continuous learning and improvement among my staff, and staying true to my culinary vision while embracing innovation. Additionally, maintaining a deep connection with my guests and listening to their feedback helps us continually refine and elevate the dining experience.

Fun and Favorites

What is your favorite dish to cook at home for your family?

–  My favorite dish to cook at home for my family is a simple yet delicious seafood risotto. It’s a comforting meal that highlights fresh, high-quality ingredients and allows me to share my love for seafood with my loved ones.

What are some of your personal interests and hobbies outside of the kitchen?

–  Outside of the kitchen, I enjoy spending time with my family, traveling, and exploring different cultures. I also have a passion for photography, which allows me to capture the beauty of the culinary world and my travels.

If you could dine at any restaurant in the world, where would it be and why?

–  If I could dine at any restaurant in the world, it would be at Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy. Massimo Bottura’s innovative approach to traditional Italian cuisine is incredibly inspiring, and I admire his ability to blend creativity with deep respect for culinary traditions.

Do you have a favorite quote from another chef that inspires you?

–  One of my favorite quotes is from Ferran Adrià: “Creativity means not copying.” This quote inspires me to continually push the boundaries of my culinary creations and strive for originality in everything I do.

AmeliaHong Kong restaurant by Chef Paulo Airaudo-Close up with All4Chefs

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Advice to Aspiring Chefs

What advice would you give to aspiring chefs who dream of achieving Your success?

My advice to aspiring chefs is to stay passionate, continuously learn, and be relentless in pursuing excellence. Focus on mastering the basics, be open to innovation, and never compromise on quality. Building strong relationships within the industry is also crucial.