Superstar Chef And Global Humanitarian José Andrés Talks About His New Travel Show

Put your feet up, perhaps with a glass of sangria in hand, and get set to savor a happy gallop among gastronomic adventures across Spain. Celebrity chef and global humanitarian José Andrés premieres a lively new travel-and-food show, José Andrés and Family in Spain, on December 27 via Warner Brothers’ Discovery+. Spain-born-and-raised Andrés attended cooking school at age 15 in Barcelona, then for his first game-changing professional job, he fortuitously landed in the legendary kitchen of Chef Ferran Adrià’s trail-blazingly innovative el Bulli, which had been crowned as the number-one restaurant in the world (now a tribute museum). At age 21, Andrés immigrated to America with $50 in his pocket, soon working at New York City and Washington, DC, restaurants. His trajectory is astonishing. Now a United States citizen based in Maryland, Andrés founded World Central Kitchen, the remarkable non-profit organization that has provided millions of meals to people in need during the wake of natural disasters and other major societal crises. With a heartfelt, can-do attitude, he is a recipient of dozens of distinctions and awards, including a National Humanities Medal, given to him by President Barack Obama. A Michelin-starred chef — with more than 30 inventively diverse U.S. restaurants — Andrés has been credited by many food experts as the pivotal pied piper who steered small-plate dining, in the form of tapas, to America, fueling a trend-making foodie movement. A New York Times best-selling cookbook author, the culinary visionary and his team also recently launched a cool podcast: Longer Tables. His José Andrés Media (JAM) company, which produces scripted and unscripted television series, books and digital food-related content, is smokin’ hot. On José Andrés and Family in Spain, he is accompanied by his three young adult American daughters, Lucía, Inés and Carlota, who deliver fresh sparkles and extra smiles to this six-part series. I talked with ever-active Andrés, who sat down long enough to express endearing words about his passion for travel, food and, most important, family. My interview is below.

Andrés showcases favorite spots, sips and specialty dishes throughout cities and regions: Episode 1 — Barcelona and Catalonia; Episode 2 — Córdoba and Andalusia; Episode 3 — Valencia; Episode 4 — Madrid; Episode 5 — Asturias; and Episode 6 — Lanzarote, a mesmerizing Spanish volcanic island off the coast of Africa. En route, local guides, notable chefs and long-time cooking pals gather with Andrés for palate-pleasing and eye-opening escapades. The Andrés family dances flamenco at a festival, gazes at gargantuan bonfires at Las Fallas, joins an acrobatic challenge to form a human pyramid and paraglides over awesome scenery. Discover with them what is deemed the finest Atlantic Bluefin tuna in the world, as well as the secrets of Spanish gazpacho, roast suckling lamb, Iberico ham, true Spanish paella, high-mountain traditional cheesemaking and enormous carabineros, an Eastern Atlantic, vibrantly red, deep-sea prawn. Watch as they drink wine made from grapes ingeniously grown in black volcanic soil. Eye stunning landmarks and gorgeous countryside along their road-tripping rendezvous. Andrés exclaims frequent OMG! and Boom! approval about cuisine and culture. A whirlwind of close-ups of tapas, fiery patatas bravas, pastries galore and more fill the screen, which will likely make you hungry and may even inspire you to book a trip to Spain. “To really get to know Spain, you have to understand its food. Lots of delicious food,” says Andrés. “Spain lives deep in my soul and its food made me who I am — a chef who loves to feed the world.”

Laura Manske: What do you want viewers to most take away from this show?

José Andrés: Celebrate life! Especially because [of the COVID pandemic] all we’ve been through. Travel! Family is important. Go into the world. Sometimes you don’t need to travel to faraway places. You can travel within your own city or state. For me, going to Spain always means going back home. It is the country where I was born. I love the country. I wanted to bring my three American-born daughters on a trip — with cameras, as grown-ups. Spain is a big country and a small country. We’ve gone every summer, every Christmas. But we go to the same places. So we’ve used this show to take them to places where they have never been before. Open up yourself to new things, experiences. Take family, take friends.

Manske: It is obvious watching the show how much you love your daughters. What impact did traveling with them while filming this show have on your relationship?

Andrés: What I think or what my daughters think? [Laughing] They enjoyed an amazing experience, but [at times] it had been hard for them. On top of filming for many weeks, they were going through their exams and studies, which was not easy. I am so proud that they put in an effort to make this show and to keep running their [personal] lives at the same time. You know how difficult it can be to have a camera in front of you. For me to see my youngest daughter, Lucía, who had second thoughts about doing this show, how she came with such a poise, how she was able to overcome every challenge, this to me as a father [was special]. [Traveling together has] made us understand each other better. We are stronger as a family.

Manske: Your biggest lesson doing this show?

Andrés: Everybody [considers] me an expert on everything in Spain. But every time you travel, you realize that the more you know, the more you don’t know.

Manske: What is your personal motto?

Andrés: Longer tables, no high walls. Where friends and new people meet and share joyful life.

Manske: You often reference 19th-century French gastronome Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin’s maxim: ‘Tell me what you eat and I will tell you who you are.’

Andrés: Everybody watching this show will realize the importance food has in who we are.

Manske: Funniest moment?

Andrés: I was driving an old car, we call it Seicento [SEAT 600], which was a [popular vehicle] in the 1960s, ‘70s, when Spaniards were first able to start to afford their own cars. My father had a car like that. [As I was getting the car ready to go], I broke the rearview mirror. My daughters were laughing for 30 minutes straight — though it wasn’t so long on camera!

Manske: Behind the scenes, what was the engine that deftly drove the series forward?

Andrés: The person [who] made this show happen, beyond amazing, is my wife [Patricia]. She was behind everything. She was the glue that made my daughters show up everyday looking perfect. She was looking after me, bringing peace to moments when there was [family] drama. We couldn’t have made this show without her.

This interview was edited for clarity and length.

For more info about planning a vacation, go to: Tourism Spain.

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