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Miguel Sánchez Romera is the Chef and owner of the L`Esguard Restaurante. He is, above all, a creator of emotions and feelings, who, guided by his scientific character, inspires to amazing perfectionism in his culinary preparations in which chromaticism and geometry form a partnership to bring us closer to the magnificent world of surprise and pleasure, not forgetting a type of taste delirium created by a brilliant and exceptional technique and an unimaginable creative spirit.
His style, which is called Constructionism, reflects an intelligent, elegant, refined cooking where, above all, real, authentic flavours and aromas that are gradually introduced into a world of magic and dreams to make the diner feel another dimension of the dish, based on art and the perfection of technique.
His cooking embraces the Mediterranean territory but is universal in that it crosses cultures and is blocked by a clean line of investigation with unique results, which are only possible in the hands of someone capable of thrilling every gourmet who possesses interest for new things. The Northern and Southern Mediterranean, Central and Northern Europe, America, Asia and China are found to have a new form and another life in Sanchez Romera’s dishes that communicate his art with a scientific conviction. He is the only cook in the world capable of realizing his creations inductively with an evolved thought process. All of this to obtain a unique pleasure: that of his “constructionist” cooking, full of elegance, flavours and deep and unmistakeable aromas, wich make us reach his “Total Cooking”.
Something we have to know about Miguel Sánchez Romera cooking is that for his medical formation, he makes a healthy, tasty and conceptually modern cooking but only using natural and excellent origin quality products and in his kitchen is forbiden to use chemical adhitives, and sinthetic products or any other no natural process.
The high level cooking has to be first at all natural, ecologic and healthy to let you look at the eyes of nature.
If we want to know the why, the how, the when and the where of Sánchez Romera´s cooking he have to go back to his own personal history.
Miguel is the son of Spanish emigrants to Argentina: Ana Romera Oliver, his mother, and Rafael Sánchez Noguera, his father. Ana was born in Murcia and Rafael in Malaga. From his mother, the chef absorbed all the wisdom of the kitchen, at first Spanish and Murcian but fed from other culinary traditions of the world, as it happens in a country like Argentina, a multicultural society due to European, Asian, Arab and Jewish immigration. From this point of view, from a cultural and culinary cross, should one analyse his cooking. In this, Ana taught the chef in a passive but a constant and continuous way, while Rafael showed him the world of roasts.
An important event justifies the form and the aesthetics of Miguel’s cooking and to find it we should turn to the studies. Not only those he received during his university formation as a doctor but also in Fine Arts. He studied both subjects together although he put aside the latter in favour of medicine. It is for this reason that the chef always reminds us that the kitchen for him is the instrument that he lost when he gave up studying Fine Arts. This artistic aspect is the second part that together with science is the origin of his culinary thinking.
Miguel Sánchez Romera has been specializing in Neurology and Clinical Neuro-physiology for the past twenty years, actually he is still practising this speciality and has dedicated his time to the study of epilepsy, publishing and participating in numerous conferences and scientific societies around the world.
He is a professor of Science and Culinary Technology at the University of Vic, Barcelona, in Human Nutrition and Dietetic.
He has been recognized as the “Chef of Revelations” by various prestigious journalists in Europe, Japan, the United States, and Latin America and in the Taste Exhibition in Turin (Slow Food), 1998.
The restaurant, L’Esguard is found 35 kilometres up the Mediterranean coast from Barcelona in a region called the Maresme in a little village of few inhabitants called Sant Andreu de Llavaneres.
The different villages in this region are made up of houses facing the sea which together form the old fishermen’s neighbourhoods. However, there are also other villages located on small mountains very near the sea. These villages are generally located on the sides of the mountains near river beds that plunge down from small tree filled valleys wedged in between these mountains.
This region is characterized by the richness of products from the sea. However it’s not only its recently caught fish but also its excellent produce freshly picked from the garden. These gardens are surrounded by almond trees, carob trees, lemon trees and orange trees that increase the smells of the vegetable gardens by adding to the aromas of fennel, rosemary and thyme.
It’s here that we can find fruits like strawberries or any kind of vegetables such as chard, broccoli , peppers, aubergine, peas—with a very long etc..--. It is from this that Chef Sánchez Romera creates his cooking.
The house is an old country farmhouse from the end of the sixteenth century which still contains the original wooden barrels as well as a grape press and an impressive cave dug out in the earth right under the press which was originally used as a cool place to store food and even as a hiding place in the times when pirates visited the Maresme. It currently houses the restaurant’s cheeses cellar as it maintains a constant temperature of 13 degrees and a humidity of 90% throughout the year.
This famous restaurant, which Miquel Sánchez Romera opened in 1996 and won its Michelin star two years later, breathes the very essence of chef’s cuisine. It has been extended and redecorated in a new style as one step further in MSR’s ideas factory and artistic culinary.
The essentialism of the new welcoming environment is a way of
reflecting MSR’s cooking by employing the purest and most basic colours. The idea is to penetrate the essence of a space, which will contribute to the understanding and enjoyment of the dishes that the chef introduces and marks a turning-point and a step forward in his artistic-culinary theories towards a still more creative and healthy kind of cooking.
In his first book, “La cocina de los sentidos” (The Kitchen of the Senses), subtitled Intelligence and the Feelings of Culinary Art,
( Planeta, October 2001), he relates his two professions from his vision of science and of art.
In this book, Sánchez Romera is completely unveiled both in his culinary work and in his ideas. He writes it from his two professions that of scientist and neurologist and that of chef. In the book we can see how the brain is the main protagonist of gastronomy and how within it, all of the necessary conditions for a truly gastronomic banquet are developed. It is composed of four chapters: The Idea, The Senses, Pleasure and Memory which explains all of the cerebral implications. In each chapter, the author has prepared a menu for the four seasons with 50 dishes for the occasion.
It has taken the author more than 3 years of meticulous work which is reflected in the 300 bibliographic references and which show that this chef is an expert in taste, flavour and aromas. It is for this reason he has been baptized as “taste-smell-ologist”.
Total Cooking 1: Culinary Constructionism (Akal, January 2006), is the first book of a trilogy wich will try to reveal the culinary intentions of Miguel Sánchez Romera and his way to understand life and cooking.
In this book, he tries to focus the culinary creation in a deep way, from the vision of Culinary Constructionism, trying to bring ideas, concepts and motivations, to create and make you feel pleasure with the cooking looking always at the art and science to express the best part of the Cooking profession.
Miguel Sánchez Romera is a cook who believes that to create in the kitchen as in all art, one has to have a philosophy and an intent. As many cooks have done it the same way, he has created his own style and has designed ideas that support this style called “Constructionism.” With it he tries to construct different dishes, which are personal and unique and which integrate and go beyond the product with techniques that he himself created and that indicate the chef’s scientific training because of the meticulous geometry needed when making his constructions. On the other hand, he truly accents the flavours and aromas by taking them to the limit so that the believable juxtaposes the surreal. While Sánchez Romera is found on the edge of the believable, his best elements are expressed in his dishes. He is an untiring investigator of products; he recognises that more than 1.800 products from all over the world have passed through his hands. As he know their origins and uses he is truly an encyclopaedia of cooking ingredients.
The Constructionism starts from cero in the creation, like any other Art, without using other already recognized dish to renovate, transform or decompose. The creation in the Constructionism is authentic, using only as a reference the absolute and universal knowledge of the products, their taste, their flavours and textures. And only in that moment beguines for Miguel Sánchez Romera the creation, alone and free of commitments and independent, helped by his only allied, the new techniques created by himself, handcraft, for building his new culinary creations.
With all of these tools his constructionism is joined together and with that he creates new constructions without taking apart nor destroying but by creating truly novel dishes. He always reminds us that cooking is denaturalising, and because of this, so as not to increase destruction one has to have a protective spirit and when constructing, control all of the culinary processes in a scientific and culinary way (Let us not forget that Sánchez Romera is a university professor of Science and Culinary Technology) so as to make an alive, intense dish with respect to taste, flavour and aroma. With this, a fantasy for the diner is created both within and around each dish by using unique techniques of the vanguard and the future but with real results, not virtual.
Total Cooking is the maximum expression that culinary constructionism has to build an idea of the total in cooking, and that Miguel Sánchez Romera resumes as the spirit or motivation we need to interpret the nature and perpetrate it in an harmonic way wich looks for the perfect pleasure.
He proposes teh technical perfection and the creative intuition with a base of solid philosophy and an independent style.
The leiv motiv of Miguel Sánchez Romera to get to the Total Cooking is “Tasting the taste”.
Sánchez Romera has invented and patented a product which he calls MICRI. He is proud to have contributed another ingredient to cooking since it is not a technique but a new product. It is a neutral, colourless, odourless, tasteless base made of vegetable matter (manioc) that is a stable emulsion capable of helping us to create savoury or sweet dishes. It is completely different from what we are used to seeing and using. Among other things, it is capable of emulsifying vinaigrettes, stabilizing sorbets, creating sauces with ease and maintaining all of the natural flavours of the products. Among its qualities the fact that it is a natural product stands out; it has only 14% carbohydrates and add no sugars nor fats to culinary realizations, putting health before the spectacular and being coherent with the medical formation of this chef who continues to prefer natural ingredients to artificial.
The Specialised Press and Participation in International Events
Sánchez Romera is a source of interest and of recognition for his culinary work in the most prestigious gastronomic journals. One example is the magazine, “Gurmet” (Germany) that was the first magazine to publish the story of L’Esguard and to recognize the Chef as one of the best of the century with respect to modern cookery. The prestigious magazine “Il Gambero Rosso” from Italy as well as its television channel introduced Sánchez Romera in a most prodigious way. Gastronomic magazines in the United States and Japan recognise this chef as a master of the vanguard, with an unmistakeable and unique style. France, again through important journalists, have dedicated time to the chef’s trajectory and honour him for his cooking that is fundamentally of flavours and aromas that inspire and thrill through his technical perfection.
The Focus magazine of Germany realize a detailed article by Von Jörg Zipprick about the two faces chef distinguising that in reality Miguel Sanchez Romera has transformed his restaurant in an Investigation institute for gourmands.
Various newspapers around the world have written about this place, among them The New York Times, Herald Tribune, Finantial Time, Il Corriere de la Sera, La Stampa, La Republica, Il Messagiero, il Sole 24 Ore, L’Expresso, Liberation, Le figaró, Le Telegraph, Miami Herald, La Nación, El Clarín, and many others in Latin America. Finally, Miguel Sánchez Romera is also recognised in Spain in El País, El Periódico de Cataluña, La Vanguardia, El Mundo, ABC, L’Avui, and specialized magazines on gastronomy, art or science etc.
Televisión and radio stations in the United States, France, Italy, United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, Montecarlo and Television Española (TVE1, TVE2), Antena 3, Tele 5 and TV3 and Canal 33 of Catalunya have also highlighted him on different programmes.
The Most Recent Press News and International Activities
On December 14, 2005, the Academy of Gastronomy of Catalunya has elected L’Esguard as the best restaurant in Catalunya this year, with El Bulli of Adrià coming second. A A full page article in La Vanguardia, the main Catalan newspaper, said L’Esguard was so superior that either you ignore it, or you gave it 4 Stars. The title of the article was “Unique in the World”.
During December of 2005, Miguel Sánchez Romera has been the main protagonist of the second edition of the International Gastronomic Event named “Cooks of the Mediterranean” wich took place in Istambul, Turkey.
Feinschmecker, Germany's leading Gourmet Magazine, has published an article about Miguel Sánchez Romera as part of his "cook of the month" series, on March 2006. These articles are among the greatest honours a chef can achieve in his life, any chef can be "cook of the month" only once in his career.