His favourite number is seven, but perhaps from now on it will be eight, for 2018 and the number of years Dani García has had to wait to make history. He did that on Wednesday by becoming the first chef in Malaga with three Michelin stars, after being awarded the third for the restaurant which bears his name at the Puente Romano.
He was emotional when presented with the award at the gala at the Carlos Lopes pavilion in Lisbon. "I'm so happy," he said, to resounding applause from his colleagues. "I can't wait to get back to Marbella and celebrate with my family and my team. The fact that two of us in Andalucía now have three stars says a great deal. Today we can party, and tomorrow we have to reflect upon what we have done so far, and think about how to continue working in future".
The Michelin Guide inspectors awarded Dani García a third star for his "unique way of reformulating Andalusian cuisine in contemporary fashion, so that each dish tells a different story based on a product strongly linked with local tradition".
This was the biggest news in the 2019 edition of the Michelin Guide for Spain and Portugal, but Malaga province is well represented, thanks to José Carlos García (who has the only Michelin star in Malaga city); El Lago, Messina and Skina, in Marbella; Sollo (Fuengirola); Bardal (Ronda); and Kabuki Raw (Casares). They all retained their stars, but one is especially happy: Marcos Granda, of Skina, who has also achieved his first star in Madrid for Clos, the restaurant he opened there barely a year ago.
José Carlos García, recommended in the Bib Gourmand (good food for under 35 euros) category for the renovated Café de París, which his parents ran for nearly 40 years, was also delighted. "It is fantastic news for the whole family," he said.
New stars for Andalucía
The new Guide has awarded two new stars in Andalucía, one to Bagá in Jaén for its traditional and contemporary cuisine based on local products, and the other to Lú Cocina y Alma in Jerez, "where diners are transported into the world of Alice in Wonderland with an original fusion of French and Andalusian gastronomy".
In total, Andalucía now boasts 22 Michelin stars (ten in Malaga province) and 39 Bib Gourmand recommendations (six in Malaga), with Aponiente and Dani García Restaurante the only triple star holders. In Spain as a whole there are 1,447 Michelin stars compared with 1,627 in last year's edition of the Guide.