Meet Ramón Freixa, prestigious executive chef for Único Hotels with 2 Michelin stars and 3 Repsol Suns.
Ramon, how and when did your relationship with Único Hotels begin and what does it mean to you?
Our story together begins 15 years ago, when I was living in Barcelona and I’d just started working as a consultant with Ávalon, the restaurant at the Grand Hotel Central. We started out with an easy-going menu that developed into what we now define as a ‘prêt-à-porter’ concept for the kitchen. Since then I’ve felt like part of the family and our relationship has grown and evolved day-by-day in a harmonious union of values and objectives.
What does gastronomy mean to you? And how important is it for Único Hotels?
My whole philosophy of cooking, like art or life, is rooted in creating something that inspires joy. When you enter my restaurant, you should feel you’re about to embark on a gastronomic journey into happiness.
Único Hotels have shown huge commitment to this being an essential part of their guest experience, as a way of showing them the essence of whichever city they are visiting.
What are the three most important things in your kitchen?
There are three essential elements that define my cooking: product, feeling and technique. At the heart of this is the feeling that I put onto each plate, translated principally through the products but enhanced in the cerebral process that allows me to use advanced techniques to get the results I want for each dish we create.
What ingredients will we always find in your cooking. And what ingredients will we never see?
Happiness, seasonality and quality is present in every one of my plates. What you won’t find are products that are not sustainable or organic, without provenance or known traceability.
What focus have you given the restaurants that you oversee for Único Hotels?
Avant-garde fine-dining is the best way to describe what we do at Ramón Freixa Madrid – think of it as haute couture in the field of fashion – which encapsulates my creative vision.
Using the same analogy of fashion, Ático follows the prêt-à-porter concept – the more casual kitchen of Ramón Freixa, which is much easier and accessible for the consumer, without compromising on taste or quality. It’s the kind of place where you’ll find the food you want to eat every day.
Finally, Mas de Torrent, has been about a return to origins, a celebration of heritage Catalan Cuisine with roots and flavours that are directly recognizable from the immediate environment and which is a part of my culinary DNA.
Does each hotel have a signature dish that reflects the areas where they are located?
Ramón Freixa Madrid doesn’t have any one plate that distinguishes it. It’s about a complete experience that is lived and understood through a series of different ‘chapters’ that make up the tasting menu for each new season.
At Mas de Torrent, on the other hand, one of my father, Josep Maria’s recipes, for potato ravioli stuffed with butifarra de Perol with Ganxet beans, is a perfect reflection of the flavours and feelings that define traditional Catalan cuisine.
What dish would you most like to be remembered by?
The one that helps you travel through your memories and brings the most joy.