Chef Alex Fargas is all set to serve the city a slice of authentic Spanish fare
Alex Fargas’ seafood paella
It’s not every day that you get to be part of a Spanish fiesta. This weekend, Mag St. Kitchen will come alive with the flavours of Spain as chef Alex Fargas, chef-owner at La Paloma, one of Hong Kong’s most popular Spanish restaurants, invites discerning foodies to a chef’s table. Having started his career in the prestigious Hofmann Hospitality School in Barcelona, the only culinary school with a Michelin star, chef Fargas worked in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, including the two-Michelin star La Alqueria at the El Bulli hotel.
Two platforms — Gormei, based in India and Hong Kong, and The Hedonist based in Pune — that curate unique dining experiences are responsible for the chef’s first outing in India. “In Spanish cuisine, you need Spanish olive oil; the quality of the ham is important, as is the rice and fresh seafood. When I arrived in Beijing 15 years ago, and even in Hong Kong, 10 years ago, it was tough to find quality ingredients. In my experience with my first sous chef, I asked for Spanish olive oil and he said, ‘What is that?’ Spanish ingredients took a bit longer to be sourced,” recalls Fargas. For the chef’s table in Mumbai however, this hurdle has been mostly addressed. “Over time, we’ve built a strong network of suppliers, so it is easier, although challenges prevail. We have changed the paella as we couldn’t get the right quality of fresh lobster,” shares Prasad Thergaonkar, co-founder of The Hedonist. The menu will serve the chef’s signature dishes that include seafood paella, suckling pig, patatas bravas, tomato salad textures, stuffed squid with Iberico pork crispy and cheesecake.
Chef Alex Fargas
With coveted restaurants once labeled the ‘best in the world’ — like El Bulli in Spain shutting down in 2011, and more recently, Scandinavian restaurant Noma — we ask Fargas if the global fine dining experience is set to change. “After you reach a certain stage, every chef asks themselves what next,” he reasons. Argha Sen, who heads Gormei, agrees and adds, “Even in India, there is a conversation about food labs and research centres. We may do it differently from the West though. For example, while chefs talk about ‘foraging’ in the West, it has been a way of life in India. Our food has traditionally been sourced our farms, and many young chefs are doing great work with local produce.”
While chef Fargas has only been in India for a few days, he believes that India and China share a common love for food. “They don’t just love food, they love to talk about it. They are always thinking about lunch and dinner. Spanish people also talk about food but to them, drinks are equally important. Beer and wines are a must with every meal,” he shares. “These events are not just about dining. The idea is to offer an honest and authentic experience. I will share my stories and culture with an Indian audience. So, expect fun and a lot of sangria along with food,” he signs off.
On: January 28; 7.45 pm onwards
At: 13-A, Gala No. 3/4/5, Magazine St, Reay Road East, Byculla.
Log on to: @magstreetkitchen
Cost: Rs 5,250