The lovely people at Estrella Damm decided to partner with Oliver & Bonacini Hospitality to offer two employees a trip to Barcelona. Our Chef de Cuisine, Vanessa Belanger, was selected along with Jump’s General Manager, Leanne Natale, to visit this incredible city!
Chef Vanessa returned from her trip feeling inspired by the textures, flavours and colours of Barcelona. Driven by a desire to share her food experience with the patrons of Beaumont Kitchen, she designed a Tapas & Pintxos menu for lunch, and a three-course menu for dinner, reflective of the fresh ingredients and flavours of her trip.
Eager to know more about this spectacular experience and how it inspired our new Barcelomont menu? Check out our interview with Chef Vanessa below, where she tells us all about her food excursion in Barcelona!
Q: What is your favourite Barcelona experience?
A: My favourite part about Barcelona was all of the restaurants by Chef Albert Adrià (elBarri) that we got to see. He has amazing restaurants and we were able to tour them all! We had a canapé party at Tickets, and lunch at Bodega 1900. During the canapé party, I mostly stood where I could see Albert Adrià and his brother Chef Ferran Adrià in action—they are amazing chefs! I would love to go back one day and try Enigma which is one of his Michelin-starred restaurants; the concept and food look absolutely incredible.
Q: What are your recommended food adventures in Barcelona? Whether it be a dish to try or a restaurant to visit.
A: I would definitely recommend visiting Chef Albert Adrià’s restaurants. They were truly incredible, and each one has a different style and concept.
No matter where you go in Barcelona, you must try the seafood. It doesn’t matter where you get it from, it will always be amazing and fresh! I even tried barnacles for the first time and they were pretty good.
Q: Are there any particular dishes, ingredients or flavours that inspired you the most?
A: The seafood and fish definitely inspired me the most! When I decided to create this menu, all I could think about was the fresh fish and seafood I got to eat, and I really wanted to try and have as much of that as I could on this menu. I also loved how the chefs in Barcelona highlight the ingredients and don’t alter the flavours too much.
Also—THE OLIVE OIL!! I could have just sat there and drank all of the olive oil; it was the best I’ve ever tasted.
Q: What drew you to create the Barcelomont menu?
A: I love cooking with fresh ingredients and not over-complicating things with too many spices or twists. Everything I ate in Barcelona was exactly like that. They showcase the fresh flavours and vegetables, instead of covering them up with spices and strong flavours. I think that’s my favourite way to cook, and I knew that this would be a great opportunity to do just that—bring in all of these fresh flavours so that I can play with them, and make them the star.
Q: What do you hope a guest will experience when they try this menu?
A: I want them to have fun with it. Especially the Tapas menu we have for lunch! I want them to order multiple different things (maybe one of each 😉), and (hopefully) fall in love with the flavours of this style of cuisine, just as I did in Barcelona. Maybe some of them will even get the itch to travel and make Barcelona their next destination spot! It has truly been my favourite city so far.
If anyone does go to Barcelona, I recommend seeing La Sagrada Familia, or any of the Gaudi buildings really. They are all so beautiful. I absolutely love the architecture there, and these buildings are so beautiful, you could just stare at them all day.
Q: Do you have an idea of where you next ideal food destination would be?
A: Definitely Greece or Italy.
Q: If someone had to try one dish on the menu, which would it be?
A: I would have to say the Braised Octopus Gallego. Octopus is one of my favourite proteins out there, and I decided to slow braise it for this dish, so it’s nice and soft, and each is grilled to order.
Or… The Cod & Pisto. This will be a salted cod—which is a super popular dish in Barcelona, and one of my favourite things to eat.