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Adding value to spanish exports


'I always have seasonal vegetables at home, and lots of fruit'

Yaiza de la Campa. Journalist In view of your lengthy track record, what novelties does your restaurant at Paseo de la Castellana 38 offer customers? How do you achieve a perfect balance between tradition and fusion?

Pedro Larumbe.- In my view, our goal at El 38 de Larumbe is to offer a complete gastronomic experience. A long time ago we realized that customers want more than just a delicious lunch or dinner: they also want to enjoy a nice breakfast, or to grab something quickly midday, or to relax after work—but they want the same quality as always. We aim to respond to a new way of enjoying gastronomy, the company, and the city. We are fully committed to our roots and our cuisine, but we are also evolving, just like society.

I believe that the balance between tradition and fusion comes naturally, almost on its own, because we strive at all times to respect a product's flavor while adding new elements, but always with a view to strengthening the raw material. We look for ways to highlight flavors, never to disguise them. At the same time, I believe that cooking is about progressing, testing, enjoying: and that is how this constant search for renewal comes to pass; it cannot be avoided.

W.S.F.- What role do vegetables and other seasonal products play in your traditional Navarran cuisine?

P.L.- Seasonal products play a key role in my cooking. A product is at its best precisely when it is in season, and only then can all of its flavor—its excellence—be extracted. With regard to vegetables, and to products from Navarra, I consider them to be authentic gastronomic treasures. I have suppliers who send me fresh products in their prime, and I consider it a luxury to be able to serve and enjoy them.

W.S.F.- As a food lover and expert chef, how does food quality affect your cooking? 

P.L.- It has an enormous impact, especially on cuisine like ours, which focuses on respect for a product's flavor. We favor sincere, honest cooking, and that requires impeccable quality—always.

W.S.F.- Do you believe that companies have formats and products adapted to restaurants' needs and quality requirements?

P.L.- The offer is currently enormous, but the needs of a high-end restaurant are also complex, especially at a time like the present.

W.S.F.- Is the crisis having an impact on haute cuisine? What strategic decisions have you had to make at the restaurants you manage?

P.L.- The crisis is absolutely having a major impact on haute cuisine, especially because the profit margin is very small, with the result that any change is very noticeable. We have made a major effort to increase our offer and to align it with market prices.

W.S.F.- Pedro Larumbe Restaurant has hosted the gastronomic event organized by ABC and Bodegas Torres for 25 years. This is one of the most anticipated events of the year for people who appreciate fine dining. I imagine that the 26th edition was an honor for you...

P.L.- Yes, it is definitely an honor. Every year it's a new and interesting experience, and we are thrilled to see other professionals as well as food lovers. It involves a passionate exchange of ideas, from which we always learn a lot. Every single edition is a privilege.

W.S.F.- The menu chosen for the event was a selection of canned seafood. Do they know what the theme for the next edition will be?

P.L.- No, not yet. But we loved working with canned seafood, as there are excellent products with many gastronomic possibilities.

W.S.F.- On a personal note, do you shop at the market? What do you buy and what do you cook at home?

P.L.- I probably go to Mercamadrid more often than the market in my day to day. Interestingly, when I'm on vacation, when I have more time, I do enjoy going to the market and checking out the fresh produce. During the week, I eat lunch and dinner at the restaurant almost every day. At home, our meals are very straightforward: fresh fish, steak with salad... I like to have seasonal vegetables at home, and a lot of fruit, and with the exception of special occasions, we always eat healthy dishes which are—I confess—extremely simple.

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