New nominees for the Best Chef Award have been trickling in for the last month. Every day, two of the names that make up the list of the new 100 contenders for the top spot are announced and among the latest is Marbella chef Dani García. Last year the coveted award went to fellow Spanish chef, Dabiz Muñoz (DiverXO, three Michelin stars) from Madrid.
"Dani García has positioned himself as one of the Andalusian chefs with the greatest international projection", say the organisers about someone who describes himself as a "flavour artist" who combines the products of his land “with the techniques and ingredients of the best international cuisine". The organisers see his cooking his as "brilliant cuisine in continuous reinvention and evolution, based on the philosophy of thinking local and cooking global, without borders or limits".
So, whatever happens in the end, the Marbella chef is already considered by The Best Chef Awards as one of the best in the world. With the last five names of the new hundred or so candidates still to be announced, Dani García is the only Andalusian in a list that currently includes nine other Spaniards: Albert Sastregener (Bo. TiC, Gerona), the brothers Sergio and Javier Torres (Dos Cielos, Madrid), Ricard Camarena (Ricard Camarena Restaurante, Valencia), Javi Olleros (Culler de Pau, Pontevedra), Jordi Vilá (Alkimia, Barcelona), Víctor Arguinzoniz (Etxebarri, Vizcaya), Paco Pérez (Miramar, Gerona) and Mario Sandoval (Coque, Madrid).
The project began back in 2015 as a result of the union of the Polish neuroscientist Joanna Slusarczyk and the Italian gastronomist Cristian Gadau. They sought to forge links between veteran chefs and new generations. Two years later, the list of the 100 best chefs in the world was created. The aim was to focus more on people, not restaurants.
To do this, they first drew up a list of 200 nominees: 100 new ones (chosen by anonymous professionals in the sector) and those who made up the previous year’s list. From there, the top 100 are chosen, based on the votes of the professionals, the 100 best chefs and the 100 nominees.
García has an international presence in London, New York and Doha. These destinations will be joined by Paris, Amsterdam, Miami and Dubai in 2022. In total, by the end of the year, García’s group will run more than twenty restaurants. Among them, three new ones in Marbella: the Italian Alelí, the Japanese Kemuri and, the one he is most excited about, Tragabuches, with which he recovers the brand that led him to get his first Michelin star and where he started his journey in 1998. Some 24 years later, he insists that he still has a long way to go.