Borja Blázquez is an unquestionable exponent of avant-garde cuisine. He clearly is in his element during his master classes. And here is one of them.
It was a summer afternoon at the time the sun set when we found ourselves on the terrace of the Wine Bar at Paihuén while the last sunbeams invaded the scene. Below our feet, the surface of Lake Lácar looked quiet and endless.
In that cozy and polite environment, we attended a deluxe gastronomic presentation in charge of Chef Borja Blázquez, who would reveal the secrets of Spanish tapas for us.
From the very beginning, Borja showed his joyful spirit while putting on his cook’s apron and arranging his pots, knives and dishes. We were treated to a first glass of wine. It was a Juan José Larrondo from Fin del Mundo Winery: a sparkling wine with touches of pinot noir and intense golden hues.
On his first presentation in the city, Borja told us about the background and present features of tapas
in Spain. This rooted custom started in the meetings among friends in the pubs, where some portion of delicious food was served to accompany good wine. Today, the phrase ’ir de tapas’
means visiting several venues and tasting their specialties on the same evening. Down to Work!
Borja lit the burner and, with art and gentleness, prepared various snacks. Intense flavors were combined with softer ones and we could taste them as they left the buffet
accompanied by the chosen wine.
Personally addressing several managers of various restaurants and bistró
in the district
, Borja made a point of personal and tools hygiene. It is usual for the waiter to cook the food while standing by the customer, whether at the table or the counter.
His specialties of varied flavors and presentations paraded before our senses, and they could all be eaten in one bite. The steps of ’tapeo’
, brochettes, helpings and casseroles: some are personal and others to share. He offered us eight different tapas
in which he combined ingredients of Spanish cuisine adapted to local gastronomy.
The winery contributed the right varietal of its wines grown in Neuquén to the snacks we would taste and then presented the ultra premium line called Fin Single Vineyard, which was accepted by all connoisseurs.
But that was not all. Borja presented modern tapeo or miniature high cuisine, which he greatly admires. Design dinner set, avant-garde cuisine products and techniques and the highest dedication were the base of the evolution of flavor, typical of elite restaurants.
A humorous round of questions and answers among the attending professionals followed. We all took home a recipe book and the ones who answered the questions correctly were awarded with the most special dishes.
Before we left, we had a private conversation with Borja Blázquez, and he told us: “I love my job. I have felt enthusiastic about cooking ever since my mother taught me the first tips in San Sebastián (Spain). When I was 17, I started to learn the secrets of great cuisine at two restaurants: El Bulli (Girona) and Balzac (Madrid). I am a passionate teacher. Not even when I am on holiday do I stop thinking about cooking”.
It was the perfect finale for a splendid afternoon next to a young Spanish cook of great international worth. We would certainly be alert for the next summer master class at the Wine Bar where friends and customers will be entertained.
Fin del Mundo Winery
San Patricio del Chañar
Province of Neuquén
Chef Borja Blázquez
Spanish, he lives in Argentina
Shows: TV Gourmet (in Argentina and Colombia)