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Jose Andres, Made in Spain

Jose Andres addresses his fans

Jose Andres addresses his fans

By Jordan Wright

Legions of foodies and adoring fans of award-winning chef Jose Andres converged on Café Atlantico to celebrate the launch of his latest cookbook, “Made in Spain – Spanish Dishes for the American Kitchen.”

Written with his friend of many years, Richard Wolffe, Newsweek’s White House correspondent and MSNBC political analyst, it covers the authentic culinary traditions of the major provinces of Spain.  It is a paean to Andres’ gastronomic roots and reflects his deep and abiding love of all things from Spain and is part of his PBS series of the same name.

Tantalizing morsels plucked from the book’s recipes emerged from the open kitchen….Malaguenas cold almond and garlic soup, his wife, Patricia’s Andalusian gazpacho, chicken wing confit with green olive puree, “spherification” of yogurt with Spanish clementines and Cava Mimosas with clementine “air.”  

A serving table featured Manchego ‘Pasamontes and Treviso blue cheeses from the beloved Asturias region of his birth.  The highly aromatic and meltingly tender Iberico ham, which was introduced to the US by Andres himself, was expertly hand carved for the delighted guests.

Jose Andres' latest cookbook,
Jose Andres’ latest cookbook, “Made in Spain

While the chic Euro-centric crowd was catching up with each others’ recent travels they regaled me with Andres’ lore.

“We have known Jose for years.  He is so much more well-known in Spain than here,” one stunning brunette swooned in her melodic Castillian accent.

Her lovely friend echoed, “He is just a humble, simple, natural and straight-forward guy who enjoys cooking and going that one step further.”  “Innovative and enterprising,” her handsome escort quipped.  Well, we know that from all his wildly successful restaurants in DC.

Along with his flagship restaurant Café Atlantico with its laboratory of sheer genius, Minibar, there are Oyamel, Zaytinya and three Jaleo outposts.

When asked why they thought Spanish wines were less popular here than abroad, one whispered conspiratorially, “We don’t know but we are just as pleased that they are not so well discovered in the US.  We prefer it that way.  There’s more for us!”

Andres and Wolff celebrate with Local Kicks' Food Editor Jordan Wright
Andres and Wolff celebrate with Local Kicks’ Food
Editor Jordan Wright

Like a seasoned politician, Andres slipped through the crowd to make a speech graciously thanking all of his supporters from Richard Wolffe and his wife, Paula, “They lived next door to us and always tasted all the dishes.” to his wife’s contribution, “I learned the old recipes from her.”

He spoke of the evolution of the book in a reverential tone, “Many of the recipes belong to the people.  They passed along to me their life histories, their truths and their family recipes.  We are trying to make sure that we tell their stories.  The traditional recipes are so alive today.”

Kind words from a chef who serves 20,000 diners per week in the Washington DC area and is branching out to Beverly Hills with his latest experiment, “The Bazaar” in a fabulous Phillipe Starck-designed restaurant in the SLS Hotel.

In a consummate gesture of generosity, Andres gave signed copies of his book to all of the guests exhorting them to support an organization throughout the holidays that is, “very close to my heart,”  the DC Central Kitchen.

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