Juan Mari Arzak was born on July 31, 1942 on San Sebastián, Guipúzcoa, Spain and he was the only son of Juan Ramon Arzak and Francisca Arratibel.
Everything began a generation before, in1897, when the grandparents of Juan Mari Arzak built a house where they opened up a tavern.
The business was inherited by Arzak's parents, who decided to turn it into an eating-house, which soongained a good reputation locally. Juan Mari's father died when he was a child, but his mother, Paquita Arratibel, continued the family business and passed on her love of cooking to her son. She was hisfirst teacher.
That was where he learnt about ancestral foodways and the importance of using good ingredients, notions which stood him in good stead throughout his career.
He finished high school andbegan studies for rigger but he decided to leave it.
In the mid-1960s, he studied at the Catering School in Madrid, and then spent some time at various restaurants across the border, in France,England and other countries. Then back to join the family business under the orders of his mother.
Arzak soon took responsibility for the restaurant’s grill and became an expert. But as from themid-1970s, he moved from tradition towards his own, unique style.
Arzak was one of the main figures in a key phenomenon in the recent history of Spanish gastronomy, New Basque Cuisine (Nueva Cocina Vasca).A group of Basque chefs, influenced by Nouvelle Cuisine and Paul Bocuse, took the first steps towards innovating local cooking, introducing sophistication into the traditional recipes and products.Juan Mari Arzak defines his cuisine as Basque, copyright (All the dishes that he makes in his kitchen don't found anywhere else) evolutionary, investigatory, and avant-garde.
Today, the Arzakrestaurant is managed by Juan Mari and his daughter Elena, who has faithfully followed in his footsteps.
Arzak's menu is constantly changing, adapting, amongst other things, to the seasons. His cuisine is...