Javier Cabrera: Guitarist chef who prepares dishes with fasting and mezcali


Chef Javier Cabrera, in a room at his Aire restaurant
Chef Javier Cabrera, in a room at his Eren restaurant.Photos: Bernardo DAZ

“With the kitchen you suffer a lot: fingers, burns, cuts”. This is the first reflection that the chef makes Javier Cabrera (Santiago de Chile, 1981) When asked why he stopped playing guitar, a passion he developed at the conservatory in his native country and, once he finished his studies at the culinary school in Santiago, inspired them to decide where the world would practice. He chose Spain, Algeciras to be precise: there he was born paco de luca,

Now he limps through his dependency Arren Restaurant, re-opened in the central street of 5-year-old Marcus Del Duero, thanks to contributions from five loyal customers from its first incarnation, which was closed due to the coronavirus crisis. Cabrera had recovered from an injury to his right leg that he suffered “without knowing how” on his way to the Plaza de Toro de Ventas to enjoy a bullfight at the San Isidro Fair (one of his great passions), but When he was already “like again,” he crushed his knee. ,A cook opened the fridge and the corner of the door hit my knee.“, he details. At least it was on the same leg, so he didn’t have to “try a new limp.”

Cabrera has a clear vision of the business. It starts with an academic and minimalist concept, with quality raw materials and a very personal touch with which it attempts to lighten up dishes, removing fat from tradition. it’s hard to find your language, When you do, it’s all done. This is really the most important thing in the creative profession. for example Almodvar, His latest film may be sloppy, but he has his own language. I found him years ago, and they all look like him, no matter what he does. It has traveled almost all the way. He makes them and people see them. Because it is Almodvar and it has that language. The day the cook will do that, that I will, I will be able to go and live in a small boat, he reflects.

In pursuit of his style, he has earned the nickname “Rebel”. And he accepts it, but with nuance. “More than a rebel, I’m someone who is the opposite, a contrarian. I’ve been living my life. At school, with my parents, in high school, in the kitchen… I’ve always been very much against it And that’s what happens in Aren, when all the restaurants in Madrid are accompanied by music chunda-chunda, We have everything covered with carpet, full of curtains, with jazz in the background, some tables…but it’s a positive rebellion, with a reason, he maintains.

Nor does he cook his dishes in the traditional way. ,I get drunk on mezcal when I have to make a new letterWith margaritas, I go home and eat nothing that day or that night. Maybe not in two or three days. And at dawn, half asleep, half mezcal, I am so hungry that dishes come to mind. The next day I write them down and take them here to the restaurant. It’s an interesting approach”, he confesses. For example, his laurels go like this Spaghetti with Parmesan and Truffles Or its white garlic red wine sorbet from Málaga, with smoked sardines, grapefruit and piperanelle leaves.

Little friend to socialize with Guild – “I’m a monk and some of the cooks I’ve met dislike me a lot., I don’t care”, he assures—he arrives in Madrid on the run from an affair with Zimmer, a woman from Tenerife. His intention was to reflect for a few months but a week later he was working in a city with which he declared himself in love.” I am very comfortable I live next to the restaurant, Plaza de Toros is a 20-minute walk away and Retiro Park a block away. i am good and happy“, he concludes.

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