Basque-born Eneko Atxa, claims his greatest influences, food wise, are his Mother and Grandmother and has them to thank for his early fascination with cooking. Eneko once stated ‘my style of cooking is as much me as my DNA.”
Eneko is a huge advocate of incorporating local produce into his menus and work. As chef-patron of Azurmendi and Aziamendi, he was the youngest Spanish chef to be garnered with thee Michelin stars.
Eneko embarked on his career as a chef at the Catering College of Leoia, honing in his fine dining skills under the expertise of some of the best chefs in the world, including Martín Berasategui. Martin and Eneko went on to work together for several years before Eneko went on to other prestigious Basque restaurants, Etxebarri and Andra Mari.
In 2005, Eneko opened his first restaurant, Azurmendi, just outside of Bilbao. Since then, the chef has garnered a number of awards, including “Best Chef” by local, national, and international bodies and after just seven years Azurmendi was awarded its third Michelin star in November 2012.
Together with the Universidad de País Vasco (the leading Basque university) and the Alicia Foundation, Eneko has installed a research facility in the restaurant as a base from which to launch a variety of projects, all focused on the connection between food and the senses. At Azurmendi he has a greenhouse where many endangered local produce is grown, this passion for local produce is reflected throughout the Azurmendi experience.
In 2013, Eneko open Aziamendi at Iniala, a private beach residence in Phuket, combining his carefully crafted cuisine with traditional European techniques and the best of local Thai ingredients.
Describe your culinary philosophy...
Based on the produce of the traditional Basque recipe book. I add a pinch of modernity to the local cuisine
How did you feel when you were awarded your first Michelin star?
It gave me an injection of extra energy to continue to improve day to day in my quest for excellence.
What is your greatest inspiration?
Produce and my surroundings
What three things would you take to a desert island?
My family, food and txakoli (Basque native white wine. We have a cellar of txakoli at Azurmendi).
- 3 Michelin stars | Azurmendi
Corredor del txorrieri n°25
Larrabetzu (near Bilbao), Spain 48195
+34 944 558 866