What does it take to achieve perfection with such a simple and archaic way of cooking as wood-fired grilling? I think of that each time I enter the modest kitchen of Victor Arguinzoniz, the grilling genius from the Spanish Basque country. When he opened Etxebarri over 30 years ago, he probably didn’t even think or care that one day people from around the world would travel to taste his food. He was just doing what he knew best, grilling over burning wood, which he had probably learnt from his parents and grandparents.
Victor Arguinzoniz is the ultimate shokunin, artisan, who has dedicated all his life for his craft. Years of painstaking practice is the only secret of this level of artisanship. Outsourcing only the finest ingredients is also crucial. I don’t think you can get any better than oysters from Arcachon, shrimps from Palamós or beef from Galicia… And guess what? The waiter didn’t even asked how we wanted our beef when ordering it. It had the crispy smoky crust, but was rare inside… I guess master Arguinzoniz knows best. My post from May 2015.