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Restaurant Goizeko Wellington in Madrid
Owner Jesús Santos and executive chef Jorge González offer refined Basque cuisine
Book Hotel Wellington online
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Article added on August 25, 2003
 
Together with the Hotel Hesperia, the Hotel Wellington is a trendsetter in Madrid, combining the Hotel's name with that of a famous restaurant. The union of the Hotel Wellington and the restaurant Goizeko Kabi gave birth to the Restaurante Goizeko Wellington, situated in the hotel, but totally managed by Jesús Santos who has hired Jorge González as executive chef in the kitchen.
 
Jorge González explained in July 2003 that the restaurant offers a fusion of Basque and modern cuisine on a gourmet level. Spanish cuisine is essentially the sum of its regional dishes and specialties. The specificity of the Basque cuisine stems from the proximity to its direct neighbor, France. The Basques have developed the first fine culinary tradition in Spain, followed by the Catalans. In recent years, great chefs have emerged all over Spain.

Besides the influence from France, the Basque Country has its own old tradition, which stems from its fishing industry. Fishermen (men only) have been organized in culinary societies for generations. Even today, they regularly gather to cook. Among the typical ingredients of the Basque cuisine are olive oil, garlic, parsley, chili (guindilla), all sorts of fish and seafood.
 
According to Jorge González, since the 1970s, the Basque cuisine has substantially improved. Especially in San Sebastián and Bilbao, a circle of young chefs has been created with the objective to improve the country's gastronomy. The first of these great cooks was Juan Marí Arzak of Arzak, who was the first Spanish chef to obtain three Michelin stars. Another of these innovative chefs is Jesús Santos, who has opened up his first restaurant, the Goizeko Kabi, in Bilbao in 1982, together with his wife María Medina.
 
At the Goizeko Wellington, which opened in May 2001, executive chef Jorge González combines the Basque tradition with fine Mediterranean cuisine. In the case of French cuisine, this requires some adaptations, since the Basques use olive oil whereas French cooking is based on butter.
 
The success of the Goizeko Wellington was immediate, to the point that the team had to enlarge the restaurant from 60-70 to 100-110 place settings. Situated in Salamanca, the most expensive quarter of Madrid with boutiques, art galleries and antique shops, the Goizeko Wellington has a wealthy client basis at its doorsteps. Leading politicians, artists and business people frequent it. When I was there, the restaurant was busy and the mayor of Madrid had dinner at the neighboring table.

A vegetarian dinner at the Goizeko Wellington, July 2003
 
The only bad experience came at the very beginning of the dinner: all types of bread were too dry, not suitable for a gourmet restaurant.
 
I asked for help regarding the wine and was served a Parés Baltŕ (2002) Mas Pons, a 100% Chardonnay from the Basque Country served at four to six degrees.
 
As an aperitif I was served a glass of spiced tomato. The pulp of the ecologically-grown tomato, seasoned with fresh herbs, transmits a sensation of freshness, welcome in hot summer evenings.

After pimientos, green pepper pods cooked soft as butter, followed a salad of raff tomatoes from Almería (southeastern Spain), avocado and fresh cheese salad. This salad is mounted on gelatin made from the tomato's won juice. It was served together with a vegetable sorbet, a fine-adjusted combination.
 
A well-seasoned Gazpacho (cold tomato soup) had of course to be part of the meal too in this hot summer evening; by the way, in Spain people start dinner at around 9 pm or later.

Sliced crystallized mushrooms with salad on a cherry vinaigrette, pil pil and a cashew vinaigrette convinced too. The mushrooms are crystallized at low temperature to preserve their organoleptic qualities. The cherry vinaigrette adds a bitter touch, while the cashew vinaigrette brings the mushroom back to its original environment.

A simple but refined combination was the sorbet of potato with poached egg and summer truffle. The poached egg completes the dish and the truffle (estivium) highlights and enhances the harmonious combination of flavors.
 
The mushroom risotto with parmesan offered contrasting textures. Jorge González uses arborio rice from Italy, which he considers perhaps the best rice for this kind of dish. The mushroom (boletus edulis) comes from the Basque Country, where the "capture" of mushrooms is common. According to the chef, this is a very popular dish at the Goizeko-Wellington.
 
The selection of desserts included a filled raspberry torte, a puff-pastry cornet with vanilla cream (canutillo de h ojaldre con crema de vanilla) and a subtle, iced after-eight with mango taste, with a bouquet that left a long lasting impression. The hot and cold chocolate soufflé at the very end is a classic dessert that Michael Brasa created 20 years ago. It has been specially adapted for the Goizeko brand. The exterior is crunchy, while the interior is liquid. It was accompanied by milk meringue ice cream, which was perfect in taste and consistency. The two last desserts were the climax of a fine dinner at a very recommendable restaurant.
 
Biography of Jorge González 
 
Jorge González was born in 1969 in Irún, Spain. He studied at the Institut de Saint-Jean de Luz (France) in 1989. He made a diploma in hotel and restaurant studies in Toulouse (France) in 1992. After a series of smaller positions, he was chef de partie at the restaurant Les Amassadeurs at the Hotel Le Crillon in Paris from February to September 1996. From September 1997 to July 1999, he worked as sous-chef for Pierre Miecaze (elected France's best cook in 1990) at the Hotel Sofitel Sčvres in Paris. From August to Dezember 1999, he was chef at the Casa Gastronómico CAL BEL in Barcelona. In April 2000, he became chef of the kitchen at the restaurant La Camarilla in Madrid. Since May 2001, Jorge González is the executive chef at the Restaurante Goizeko-Wellington.


 

Salón. Photo copyright Goizeko-Wellington.
 
More articles about Madrid 
Hotel Hesperia Madrid
- Hotel HUSA Princesa + history of the HUSA group
- Hotel Ritz Madrid
- Hotel Wellington Madrid
- Goya Restaurant 
- Malvasía Restaurant
- Madrid sightseeing guide
- Book hotels of all categories in Madrid.


 

 

Jorge González. Photo copyright Goizeko-Wellington.
 

Salón. Photo copyright Goizeko-Wellington.
 

Jesús Santos. Photo copyright Goizeko-Wellington.
 

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