Chef Dani García runs several catering businesses in the city of Marbella, with the Tragabuches restaurant being one of his latest projects in the Costasoñela town, and where he has embarked on a new gastronomic route paired with rum. The chef attends Málaga Hoy to talk about his new initiative and the situation of haute cuisine.

– How is the acceptance of the Tragabuches restaurant being after its opening in September?

-We have open probably the worst time to open for many people, but it is the best because opening in summer is very difficult for me, and I prefer everything relatively smooth. It’s a extremely simple restaurant to understand, a kitchen and some products that we all know and that we all like, with comfortable food, and in the end, things fall by their own weight when you find a restaurant of this type.

-What kind of cuisine does Tragabuches offer?

It is Andalusia, it is an updated sale. Later Tragabuches became the first Michelin star restaurant from Toledo downwards in the year 2000, when I was 24 years old, but it began as a sale in quotes. The only difference was that instead of having a stewed oxtail on the bone with chips on the side; we broke up the bone, made a filling, put it in a ravioli and put a chestnut puree on it. So it was an oxtail stew, but updated. That is what Tragabuches represented, to make a normal gazpacho to put cherry and a little cheese snow fresh, on top of Ronda as well, and you do something that even today is still groundbreaking, imagine yourself in 98.

-After a long career and his kitchen being characterized by innovation, he has decided to return to his roots with this project…

  • There are many reasons and circumstances, one of them is because deep down all our companies go beyond Dani García and the name of Dani García. we are one food and beverage company that builds brands to grow around the worldso we have been opening brands in that sense, and it is true that when the possibility of this place was born, which was wide and large, we said to make a typical Andalusian restaurant, and there we began to think about rescuing the brand of that time.
  • -After a long career and his kitchen being characterized by innovation, he has decided to return to his roots with this project…

    -There are many reasons and circumstances, one of them is because deep down all our companies go beyond Dani García and the name of Dani García. we are one food and beverage company that builds brands to grow around the worldso we have been opening brands in that sense, and it is true that when the possibility of this place was born, which was wide and large, we said to make a typical Andalusian restaurant, and there we began to think about rescuing the brand of that time.

  • In addition to the boost given to Andalusian gastronomy and culture…

  • -We always do that, and we would have continued doing it even if Tragabuches had not existed now, because in our restaurants in London, New York or Qatar you will find the tuna that we use here, the red shrimp, the rice dishes or the gazpacho. What happens is that Tragabuches delves into the zero kilometer product in a more radical way and the 100% Andalusian essence and culture, although we have already replicated it in Madrid.

  • -Despite his Michelin stars and his business successes, he continues to keep it simple, it doesn’t go to his head…

  • -When they ask me this question I always say the same thing. If you’re dumb and successful, you’re four times dumb, and if you’re normal and successful, you’re four times normal. I think that success is fleeting and you have to be aware that on many occasions you are up and on others you are down. I’ve been down too, that’s probably why I’m aware that you’re going to falter or be more than anyone, because there’s always someone better than you. Be the best version of yourself, but don’t want to be something you’re not. I don’t feel like the smartest, the most handsome, or the biggest or best cook than anyone else, I just try to be better than myself, and obviously be a sensible, pleasant, educated person and try to make others happy. Being an asshole, I assure you I can’t.

  • -You have 10 restaurants in Spain and many others throughout the world. How do you deal with this type of business with the inflationary crisis and the increase in energy costs?

  • -There is one thing that we are clear about in our company, and that is working from the inside out so that inflation is not paid by the customer. It really costs our lives because there are many things that we have against us, such as the electricity bill or the fact that everything goes up. Costs go up, all of this has an impact, and should have an impact on the price of the restaurant, but we try to deny it as much as possible. I think that the secret of companies that have services for someone who has to pay is obviously work and look for all the possibilities before raising the price. With the suppliers we also buy a lot of quantity to know how to readjust the recipes and formulas so that it does not influence the price of the restaurant.

    – Malaga has added a new Michelin star at the red guide gala with the Kaleja restaurant. How does it contribute to promoting the area as a gastronomic destination?

    -Obviously, I think he deserved it, but above all the person. I met Dani 25 years ago when we were already dedicated to haute cuisine at that time. The first time I went to Bully he was the cook and he was the one who made the reservation for me. He is a uncle for whom I have tremendous affection and respect, and that he hasn’t had a star before because he didn’t want to, but he’s a guy who deserves to have all the stars he wants and whenever he wants because he has plenty of cooking and talent.

    -What is the current situation of haute cuisine?

    -That is a very controversial question. Haute cuisine is there and will continue, but I still think that Spain is a very complex place to do haute cuisine because the prices have not been adapted to the cultural mentality of the client. You pay 600 euros for the same thing in Paris and 200 in Spain, when the costs are the same.

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