Winning a Michelin star is not an easy thing to do, and requires a little it more dedication than just learning not to burn a fried egg every time. So holding two Michelins is obviously more than a question of being in the right place at the right time with the right egg. The place where Valencian chef José Manuel de Miguel is is Paris, where he is the head chef of not just one but two Michelin star restaurants, one each on either side of the River Seine.
His winning partnership with the world’s best somellier, Italian Enrico Bernardo in the restaurants Goust and ‘Il Vino’, havs meant a triumph for both and a first for José Miguel; being the first Valencian chef to run the kitchen of a top Paris restaurant, the first to boast a Michelin star in Paris too, and the first Spaniard there to claim two.
José Manuel didn’t come out of nowhere; after studying at the Hostelry School of Castellón for five years he moved to the Hotel Ritz in Madrid, and from there, after three years standing the heat of the kitchen, to the Bristol in París, itself a three Michelin star restaurant, before developing his skills with the Basque chefs Arzak and Martín Berasategui. Afterwards he returned to his roots, working again in Valencia with Oscar Torrijos for a further two years, and finally heading up his own kitchen at El Submarino, the restaurant of the Oceanographic, with the swirling tanks full of fish impersonating wallpaper.
Although the variety of flavours is extensive, you won’t find paella on the menu at José Miguel’s restaurants, although Paris will always have rice when he’s around, such as his rice with sea anemone, as well as some typical home-grown ingredients such as saffron, olive oil and ‘Bomba’ rice, a Valencian invention which absorbs 30% more broth than ordinary rices.
About 70% of José Miguel’s kitchen staff are also Valencians, each and every one of them determined to demonstrate to the bon viveurs of Paris that Valencians do not live by paella alone.