Chef Óscar Molina, heads up the culinary team at the Ibiza Gran Hotel and with the hotel’s flagship fine-dining restaurant, La Gaia by Óscar Molina receiving its first Michelin star, under his watch, the Barcelona born Chef continues to showcase his culinary talent and flair. Read on to discover more.
When did you discover your passion for cooking and what were your career aspirations when you were young?
When I was young my only thought was about spending time with friends and motorbikes. My father ran a restaurant so I lived in a kitchen for as long as I can remember. I started working in the family business when I was 14 years old, but it wasn’t what I liked the most back then. At the same time, I was lucky enough to work together in other large kitchens that gradually aroused my interest to know more, other kitchens with new flavors where dishes became pure art. One of the great heroes with whom I was lucky enough to coincide, was Mey Hofann, director and owner of the Arnadi school at that time, today known as the Hofmann school.
You’ve been working your magic on Ibiza’s gastronomy scene since 2008, how has your culinary style evolved over the years?
I truly consider that my style matures with every experience – it’s driven by a lot of curiosity and ambition.
And where do you find inspiration for your menus and culinary creations?
I inspire myself every day from what I see and experience. It could be on a holiday, in a chat with a local producer, learning about the work that other colleagues do, with the networks. We are very lucky to live in a time when information and inspiration can be found at any time, anywhere.
La Gaia by Óscar Molina is the flagship fine-dining restaurant at the Ibiza Gran Hotel. Please tell us more about the culinary experience guests can expect to enjoy when they dine here.
And the restaurant was awarded its first Michelin star this year, making the hotel the first in Ibiza to receive the accolade. How did this make you feel?
Honestly, the whole team continues working exactly as before, nothing has changed because our passion to try new things and surprise the diners remains the main desire. Our aim is to transcend gastronomy, we want to design a journey that speaks of our territory, our products and most of all, our people. Awards are always welcome and symbolises that you are doing great work, but we simply keep doing the best most and creative way and have a positive impact where we can.
How would you describe the foodie scene in Ibiza?
I consider Ibiza to be an unprecedented gastronomic destination. It has the four basic pillars for success. The first thing that I would like to highlight is the quality of the product that we have, from the fish and shellfish that, thanks to posidonia, provide us with a unique product in the Mediterranean, the island, the salt, the oil, etc. We source the finest product, that is varied and very well cared for. Then, there is a culture of its own around traditional gastronomy and our unique language in the world, recipes that have travelled through time from the Punic to the present day and that we can taste in restaurants that preserve tradition. In Ibiza there are the restaurants of some of the best international chefs in the world, Mauro Colagreco in the El Silencio restaurant, Martín Berasategui in Etxeco, Paco Roncero; Sublimotion, Mario Sandoval; Asal, etc. the list is very long and difficult to mention them all. Last and most recent, the guides, critics, journalists, foodies begin to see the island as a gastronomic destination, as reflected in the mentions and awards that some of its establishments have lately been able to show off.
Which is your favourite dish you have ever been served and who cooked it?
My favourite dish is cod with rice that my father used to make.
Luxury is highly subjective – what does it mean to you?
Indeed, luxury for me is enjoying a meal in a good restaurant with those I love.
What is your life motto (if you have one)?
My motto is never give up! I won’t rest until I get what I want.
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