Immensely proud about Spain’s famous produce, craft producers, regional diversity and culinary heritage, José Pizarro has to take a lot of credit for putting his country’s food firmly on the map.
Born in the small village of Talaván, in the too often missed region of Extremadura, José came from a long line of farmers, which is where his passion, respect and love for quality ingredients and small craft producers has its roots.
After first learning his trade in restaurants in Extremadura, José moved to Madrid where he refined his skills at the Michelin-starred restaurant El Chapín de la Reina. In 1998, he arrived in London and following successful stints at Gaudi and Eyre Brothers, he linked up with Monika Linton to open the first Brindisa restaurant in Borough Market. Additional sites soon opened in London before José left to go it alone. Since then he has launched his tapas and sherry bar, then the Pizarro restaurant with additional venues rolling out in Broadgate Circle and at The Swan in Esher. Alongside his highly-regarded restaurants, José has also published five recipe books and become the nation’s most prominent Spanish chef plus a regular on TV.
José commented: “My biggest inspiration in food has always been my customers, inspiring me to be better and to take them on a real gastronomic tour of my country. When I first arrived in the UK, it was clear that the majority of consumers hadn’t experienced the best Spanish ingredients such as jamón, chorizo and manchego so rather than overcomplicate, this became my focus and inspiration. Over the last 20 years, I’m incredibly proud of our work in raising the profile and quality of Spanish food and
showing that with a few well-treated, quality ingredients, less is often so much more.”
“My Signature Dish is Deep Fried Goats’ Cheese with Orange Blossom Honey, which perfectly showcases this. It’s a dish that I first created all the way back in Madrid in my younger days and it has stayed with me ever since, becoming a favourite wherever I have been. It’s so simple and versatile, as our customers can enjoy it as an appetiser, main and dessert but the Extremaduran goats’ cheese, which comes from an incredible family producer called Monte Enebro, lifts the dish to magnificence.”