Alejandro Serrano, the youngest Spanish chef to win a Michelin star who bets on seafood from his native Miranda de Ebro

Despite the fact that he admits that when he was little “I disowned the kitchen a bit because I never ate with my parents at the table”, Alexander Serrano He decided to follow in the footsteps of his parents in the world of restoration because “it seemed interesting to me to be able to continue the family tradition and capture in the kitchen the creative part that he had always had”. In November 2019, after spending his life lending a hand in the family restaurant and learning from masters such as Eneko Atxa, Dabiz Muñoz and Mario Sandoval, he opened a restaurant in his homeland, Miranda de Ebro, which bears the name of he. And five months later the pandemic arrived.

“We made tasting menus based on what is found in all traditional avant-garde restaurants, but I wanted to find something special that came out of me,” explains the young chef on the phone. “The closure of the pandemic”, he continues, “was a moment of reflection. I had won the Dénia red prawn contest, the bluefin tuna contest, and I liked to butcher the fish since I was little. So I decided to bet on it, because it seems to me that you can do many more creative things than with meat.» This very personal commitment, taken at such a difficult time, has helped Alejandro become the youngest Spanish chef to win a Michelin star.

White prawn from Huelva from the Alejandro Serrano restaurant. / ACE

To achieve this, Serrano has united his two passions, the product of the sea and the environment in which he has lived. “We work with marine products, both fish and shellfish from our coasts of the peninsula, and we cook it with beauty and involving our environment: the mountains of San Juan, the Merindades area, in order to round off the experience». The client enjoys top quality fish and shellfish while “we are telling a story with smells. I like to make many perfumes from different aromatic herbs, to involve a lot of physical essence in the dish, such as rosemary, thyme, lavender”, details the chef.

Atxa, Muñoz, Sandoval: the key moment

When looking for a key moment in his short but intense career as a chef, Serrano acknowledges that working with world-renowned colleagues was key in shaping the idea he had for his own business. “It’s where I met haute cuisine and sentimental gastronomy, like Eneko Atxa, who is deeply rooted in his area and its landscape. With Dabiz Muñoz I got to know haute cuisine taking it to the madness it has, with Mario Sandoval haute cuisine taken to its tradition, I also felt very linked to its history».

After obtaining the Michelin star, Serrano acknowledges that he finds himself “in a situation that I didn’t even consider two years ago, full every day, and the truth is that it gives us life, it gives us the opportunity to face new challenges in the future and continue to be able dream about our idea and about what we are doing in the restaurant». And among the clients who enjoyed his recognized proposal are his parents. «My father had not come since before the pandemic, he had not been able to see my progress and the truth is that he left quite excited. He told me that it was a very special thing and that it was not just a meal but an experience” he confesses before acknowledging that it is “what we want to achieve in the restaurant, that it be a unique experience, that you come from anywhere in Spain or the world to eat here, because it is something unique».

Alejandro Serrano in the kitchen of his restaurant. ACE

During the service, the cook usually goes out to the dining room, because “I love being 50% both in the kitchen and in the living room. I like the fact of putting it on a plate and being able to take it out to the room, see the customer’s reaction, if they like it, if they don’t like it, I love that trip that the plate makes to the room and I have had many joys and very few disappointments, but there have been some. After all, you connect or you don’t connect or you don’t connect with our way of seeing cooking and life, it doesn’t mean it’s bad, it just doesn’t connect with it.»

Alejandro Serrano, client and boss

Away from the kitchen, when Sunday service ends and you have your weekly break ahead of you (the restaurant is closed on Monday and Tuesday) Serrano admits that his only vice it is to eat “a hamburger or something fast, since so much tension and so much carrying such a high level of exquisiteness” makes the body ask to relax. “I like to eat everything”, she reveals, “in Madrid I enjoy a lot with the diversity of restaurants that there are, which do not have to be Michelin stars. I love Fismuler or El Triciclo, informal restaurants but that have their essence».

Throughout the interview, Serrano speaks in the plural, a good example of humility, but also of the good functioning of the team that carries out each service. “The team we have,” he explains, “has been there from the beginning, although due to the level of work after the Michelin star I have had to incorporate three more people.” “A good boss is just as important as good workers”, he continues, «and I am one more, I get involved in all the tasks, I also wash, I also clean. In the end, a good boss has to convey his feelings to his team and a good team is the one that is able to connect with that boss, pick up his feelings and reproduce them, that everything is in the same tune and that it flows ».

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