Off the Table Spain: Bikes and Blowtorches in Barcelona

Meeting chef Jordi Herrera was a bit of a culinary blind-date. He’d been recommended by a friend-of-a-friend and knew as little about the Off the Table team as we did about him when we showed up at his unassuming workshop in the workaday La Sagrera neighborhood of Barcelona.

Off the Table Spain: Bikes and Blowtorches in Barcelona

It was clear at first glance that Jordi was a motorcycle enthusiast. His street cruiser’s engine was still warm when we arrived, and it would’ve been natural to think the blowtorch, welder’s mask and industrial equipment laying about was intended for repairs and customization. In a sense, it was – but for food – not the bike.

Along with the blowtorch was a centrifuge, a small bed of nails and a steam vapor machine and hypodermic affectionately dubbed the ‘enculadora’ (ass-skewer) which was used to cook crustaceans from the inside-out in as little as 10 seconds. All tools of the trade for a chef inventor who has always danced to the beat of his own drummer.

Jordi was more renaissance man than gear geek. His inspirations came from da Vinci and Einstein more than fellow chefs. As he was as much a scientist and sculptor, as a renowned chef.

It didn’t take long for us to hit it off and dive in, blowtorching tenderloin and thyme on the bed of nails, talking philosophy and fatherhood while walking to his fishmonger and taking a high adrenaline spin around the neighborhood on the back of his bike. 

Before leaving, I spotted Jordi’s motorcycle jacket. 'Sons of Gastronomy’ and a steer skull logo was boldly emblazoned across the back. A fitting motto for this culinary rebel: daring, defiant and always pedal-to-the-metal on the road to greater understanding.

Go There: Restaurant Manairo

Manairo, the name of chef Jordi Herrera’s well regarded restaurant in Barcelona, is taken from a forest fairy from Catalan folklore. The decor is equally fantastical, with touches such as painted bird cages as light fixtures and atmospheric pieces of art throughout the intimate space. 

Restaurant Manairó

Carrer de la Diputació, 424, 08013 Barcelona, Spain

Tel: +34 932.31.00.57

http://www.jordiherrera.es/manairo/

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