Haute cuisine is not the number of Michelin stars, but good quality products used with great professionalism and love, said Michelin-star chef Nazario Cano

The UNNIC integral leisure centre will open its doors on March 4, 2023. This establishment is already called a milestone in the gastronomic offerings in Andorra and a place for everyone – secluded couples, noisy friends, and family members of all ages. The restaurant team will be led by acclaimed Michelin-star chef Nazario Cano. He told us about the concept of a new establishment in Andorra, and shared his thoughts on haute cuisine.

“I am the hereditary chef. In the eighties my father already had a restaurant with a Michelin star in Alicante. I’ve been involved in the restaurant business for thirty-eight years now. I spent several years with great master chefs such as El Bulli (head chef in a restaurant located in Roses, Catalonia, Spain, that was internationally known for its gastronomic offerings), and Martín Berasategui (a Spanish chef who has twelve Michelin stars).

In 2018, I was awarded my first Michelin star in Xàbia, in Alicante. Then, I continued my career in Murcia, where I got my second Michelin star at Odiseo, a leisure center in Murcia.

If you want to get a Michelin star, you should have desire, perseverance, high professionalism, and, above all, great individuality. You must have something very personal. At Odiseo, in order to receive a Michelin star, we worked on a seafood menu with completely new technologies that we developed ourselves. The management liked our gastronomic offering. And here we go!

But well, now I am in Andorra. First of all, I am very excited about Andorra. The Andorrans have received me very well. Before, I didn’t know anything about Andorran cuisine. I didn’t even know about Andorra! But they welcomed me with open arms. So there’s a lot of things to do, but there’s also a lot of things to learn…

To surprise Andorra, I have something exclusive. I have a grilled fish ceviche (normally ceviche is not grilled). Or what about a grilled rooster with an onion and tiger’s milk? It’s delicious!

Basically, I’ve always wanted to move away from Mediterranean cuisine, which I’m an expert in, to game dishes, because my mother comes from a region where they love to cook game dishes. Therefore, venison with truffles is also one of my exclusive dishes.

Finally, my signature piglet, which I have been cooking for 20 years – this is a piglet that is candied very slowly and then fried so it becomes very crispy on the outside.

Many years ago I lived in Lima. That’s why I practice Peruvian cuisine. I also practice Japanese and American cuisine (American hamburgers, ribs, etc.).

I think that here in Andorra, I can offer the customers much more – not merely good cuisine.

The UNNIC is an establishment for every kind of pocket. There will be four restaurants here: the Sports Bar, the Red Bar, the Show Dinner, and the Restaurant located on the top floor of the building.

Let’s start from the top, where there is the Restaurant with rice, grill, etc. – a good balanced menu to start. Now let´s go down one floor to the Show Dinner, where there will be a live show with some spectacular dancers and where you can have a perfect dinner at the same time.

We continue going down and we come to the Red Bar, a mix between Japanese and Peruvian cuisine, where we can enjoy a bit of those ceviches, sushis, makis, etc.

And finally, there is a Sports Bar with lower-priced American hamburgers, etc. for more informal occasions.

I know molecular cuisine as well. But it’s not what I use most of all. Here we will work mostly with local products which are well known to local customers, but at the same time we’ll be able to surprise him.

Haute cuisine for me is everything that is done very well. Rice or grilled dishes made well and with love can also be “haute cuisine.” In other words, haute cuisine is not the number of Michelin stars, but good quality products used with great professionalism and love. UNNIC restaurants can be a great example of haute cuisine. Yes! Why not?

The secret of a successful kitchen is a eating joint. The eating joint is what drives you up and down, right and left. So this is the most important part of any project and the best culinary guide.

My inspiration depends on a region. For example, now, being in Andorra, I thought what a miracle it would be to open a restaurant here with only mountain cuisine. A very small one with only game dishes, mushrooms, truffles, etc. on its menu. And all dishes must be cooked only on a wood-burning stove. And it should be only gourmet mountain cuisine. That’s what inspires me. Have you ever been to Scandinavian restaurants? There are animal skins all over the place! Places like this inspire me a lot…”

Irina Rybalchenko for El Periòdic News

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