Tapas restaurants are fast becoming the largest-growing new style of restaurant in the United States, and we have one man to thank for their continued growth: José Andrés. Widely recognized as the progenitor of the small plates or “tapas” style of culinary creation in the United States, José has brought Spanish cuisine to the mainstream, and it’s here to stay. Born in Mieres, Spain, José began his culinary training under Ferran Adrià at El Bulli. José and Ferran would go on to teach a culinary physics course at Harvard University in 2010, and in May 2012, José was named Dean of Spanish Studies at the International Culinary Center.
Though his recent work might lead you to believe that José is largely focused on academic pursuits, his résumé as a chef is as impressive as that of anyone else on this list. José has won the James Beard Foundation “Best Chef” award in 2003, Bon Appetit magazine’s “Chef of the Year” award in 2004, the Vilcek Prize in Culinary Arts in 2010, another James Beard Foundation award for “Outstanding Chef” in 2011, a National Humanities Medal in 2015, and the Orden de las Artes y las Letras de España in 2010. In addition, José made Saveur magazine’s “100 List,” GQ magazine’s “Men of the Year “ list in 2009, and Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People” list in 2012.
Specialties & Resources
As mentioned above, José’s specialties are tapas, or “small plates,” and his restaurants reflect his commitment to this unique culinary style. His Washington D.C. restaurants minibar by José Andrés and barmini by José Andrés both specialize in small-course menus, as does his D.C.-based Jaleo restaurant.
Lest José be considered a master of Spanish cuisine and nothing more, his other endeavors include Zaytinya, a Washington D.C. restaurant that serves Mediterranean-inspired tapas from Greece, Turkey and Lebanon; Beverly Hills’ The Bazaar, which fuses traditional tapas and foods inspired by molecular gastronomy, China Chilcano, which focuses on Chinese, Japanese and Peruvian fusion, and Bazaar Meat by José Andrés, a Las Vegas-based traditional steakhouse.
José’s intellectual pursuits have served him well in the kitchen; just as he is continually learning about the science of cooking, he has also dedicated himself to expanding his culinary range beyond that for which he is most well-known. His vast array of disparate culinary styles reflect that, and in José we see the rare chef who is at once a master of his craft and never satisfied by treading the same path.