This chef from Extremadura has been popularizing Spanish cuisine in London for almost 25 years with a cosmopolitan and playful touch. His is a calm and tasty revolution in which the product is the star. Pizarro captains five restaurants in London and a pub on the outskirts and has managed to weather the storms of Brexit and the covid.

So much so that this March (the official opening is on the 17th) he opens a new restaurant called José by Pizarro at the Conrad Abu Dhabi Etihad Towers hotel in the Emirati capital. His penultimate restaurant presides over one of the most beautiful rooms of the Royal Academy of Arts in Piccadilly, one of the museum temples of the British capital. Pizarro visited the capital a few days ago as part of the Barcelona Wine Week.

I’m still the kid who came to London with 50,000 pesetas and the desire to learn English. He didn’t know what he wanted to do. The luck that I have had to be able to make my way in the United Kingdom is to learn and teach new things. I am very proud of what we have achieved, and I include more people, that the clichés of Spanish cuisine have disappeared.

Making people happy with food is not difficult. We all fail, be careful, and I was the first, but when you put a good product on the table, good prawns, ham, cheese, good bread and oil… there is no more.

Two million. It is the number of croquettes that we sell in our restaurants each year. Anyway, the merit is not so much to sell them as to count them (laughs). We bought a machine and he immediately gave us the figure.

Wine in Spain has undergone a tremendous revolution in the last 20 years and that is interesting to see from the perspective of London, which is the world capital of wine, it is seen with great affection. Very good, very personal wines are being consumed. It’s what people want.

creative tradition. I have always opted for quality products and the usual recipe, but taking one or two more steps because I have a team that is the milk, it is very creative. They have to respect my philosophy, but let them contribute their own. The best fried hake in the world is my mother’s, Isabel: flour and egg. To the Roman of a lifetime. But there are new techniques.

There are cooks that I adore like Yotam Ottolenghi or Jamie Oliver, who have always supported me. They went a long way with him about the chorizo, because he is a figure who highly respects Spanish cuisine. In many places in Spain, rice with chorizo ​​is made. I’ve seen sandwiches and paella croquettes out there… At that, all you can do is laugh.

There are restaurants in London that I am a regular at. One is Bob Bob Ricard, a French and Fine British Cuisine restaurant in Soho. Another is Prawn on the Lawn in Saint Paul’s road which specializes in seafood from Cornish fishing boats and a third is Hoppers, also in Soho, whose menu consists of South Indian and Sri Lankan dishes. .

Italians sell very well. It was very difficult for us, we did not have that confidence, we were closed for many years. You went to the fair and they had some bottles of designer oil and from here they would go with the five-liter jug. Now we are winning.

In Abu Dhabi, where I open my new restaurant, José by Pizarro are turning to culture. You have the Louvre, the Guggenheim, there is talk of a Victoria

I really like art and with cooking there is a special pasodoble. People like Rebecca Salter, President of the Royal Academy, inspire you. Two of my restaurants are next to the White Cube… Tracey Emin is my friend, I have cooked for Gilbert