José Pizarro: The father of Spanish cooking in the UK
José Pizarro has lived in the UK for 16 years and in that time has worked at some of London’s most prestigious Spanish restaurants including Eyre Brothers, Brindisa and Gaudi. In May 2011 he opened his first solo venture to great critical acclaim – José – his proudest moment yet. Later that year he opened Pizarro, a few yards away from José. 2015 saw him open his third restaurant, José Pizarro at the newly developed Broadgate Circle in the heart of the City of London. He describes this restaurant as the coming together of his twenty years of cooking.
José was planning to become a dental technician in Spain but realised his love of food was bigger than his love of dentistry and completed one year of catering school in Cáceres before working in a restaurant local to his home town. In 1997, Pizarro moved to Madrid to the award-winning Meson de Doña Filo where he cooked nueva cocina and began his love affair with fresh, brightly flavoured dishes.
Jose has appeared on BBC1’s Saturday Kitchen many times – as well as on UKTVFood’s Market Kitchen, Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch and Rick Stein’s Christmas on BBC1 – and his first book Seasonal Spanish Food was published in Autumn 2009 by Kyle Cathie to great critical acclaim. The book has been translated and printed for other markets too, such as the US and Holland. It has even been translated into Spanish for the people of Spain and will be launching there any day now. José’s last book, Spanish Flavours, came out in Autumn 2012.
In May 2014, José was voted one of ‘100 españoles’ – a hugely prestigious award which showcases the top 100 Spaniards around the world, based on how they have brought their talents to the masses and how they have shown their Spanish pride and love of the country through their work.
José has also been awarded a number of other fantastic accolades:
- Ontrade Personality Of The Year 2012 by Harpers Magazine
- Newcomer of the Year 2012 Winner Food and Travel Magazine Awards
- Restaurant of the Year 2012 Winner Food and Travel Magazine Awards
- Restaurant of the Year 2012 World Food Awards
José has also taken part in numerous events this year, including the Oxford Literary Festival where he hosted a special dinner for Claudia Roden, the newly launched Henley Food Festival, BBC Good Food Shows and the renowned food festivals at Abergavenny & Aldeburgh.
2016 has been a very exciting year for José Pizarro. His third book was released in March; Basque sees him discover more about the food of this region, its heritage and its traditions with a focus on pintxos as well as on larger dishes to be shared. José says that you don’t need to be a slave to your stove in order to make tapas at home!
He has just signed up to do his 4th book, all about the wonderful region of Catalonia, due for release at the end of 2017.
José has also most recently been featured in many of the UK’s most well – known national news titles including The Times, The Guardian, The Telegraph and The Independent. He also regularly features in key food titles including Olive, BBC Good Food & Delicious.