Culinary promise from the Costa del Sol

Fernando Alcalá in Madrid on Wednesday.
Fernando Alcalá in Madrid on Wednesday. / Alberto Ferreras
  • Marbella chef Fernando Alcalá won the young chef's award at Madrid Fusión and Puri Morillo's dessert won her third place in the up-and-coming pastry chef competition

Both young and veteran chefs from around the country have been in Madrid this week for the gastronomy fair Reale Seguros Madrid Fusión.

While the three-day event includes talks, workshops and demonstrations by some of the country's most veteran and influential chefs, including Ferrán Adrià and Ángel León, it also gives young, upcoming professionals the chance to make a name for themselves in the industry.

One of the highlights of Madrid Fusión is the announcement of the prize for the best 'Cocinero Revelación', for young, up-and-coming professionals. This year's award went to local Marbella chef Fernando Alcalá, 27, who runs the kitchen in the restaurant Kava, where he claims that his menu aims to revive the term 'signature cuisine' with dedication while also taking risks.

After receiving his prize, he explained that he hadn't expected it as "all the candidates were really good and some better known than me".

The organisers select a total of 80 judges among industry professionals and food writers and critics from around the country.

Alcalá is a self-taught chef who only took up cooking professionally after graduating in Law and completing a Masters degree in Switzerland.

It was then that his father told him that restaurant premises that belonged to the family had been vacated and available to use. "I haven't studied at catering college. I'm self-taught and I believe that to a certain extent that's an advantage, because I've had to learn a lot by myself and have avoided being influenced," he said.

There was more good news for the province of Malaga earlier in the week when Puri Morillo, who runs the patisserie, Daza, on the west side of the city, won third prize in the competition for promising pastry chefs. Morillo worked under Malaga's star chef Dani García at his former restaurant Tragabuches in Ronda and later in Calima, Marbella.