TP TALKS TO... Sergio Sanz Blanco

by Travelling Peach

COOKING ISN’T JUST ABOUT HUNGER; IT’S ABOUT EMOTIONS 
It was always my dream to work in the kitchen from young. I loved eating and I loved cooking so I tried it and I liked it. Food is a big part of my life. There’s something about the sharing that’s not just related to hunger; it’s about emotions. I like to do all of my meetings around the table and when I cook for people and see them enjoy my food, I feel important. Cooking for family and friends, guests at the restaurant… I just love it.

SHARING FOOD & COOKING WITH MY FAMILY INSPIRES ME
My grandma, my mum and all of the flavours I remember from my house growing up. They’re the biggest influences on me. It started with my grandma cooking homemade bread… the smell of the wood, preparing the charcoal to bake the bread… the whole experience. I just love Spanish cuisine.


MY COOKING STYLE: EXCITING MODERN SPANISH CUISINE
I respect the basics. I was trained in Spanish and Catalan cuisines, which are actually quite close to French, so those things have always influenced my menus. However, in the past few years, since starting here at Ametsa, I decided to have fun and to create crazy things. I started to think about developing flavours in strange ways - ways that you don’t expect but that excite guests visually, mentally, in flavour… One example that comes to mind is our sweet cabbage soup. I’d never thought about using cabbage as a dessert but why not?! It works really well.

BECOMING HEAD CHEF AT AMETSA WAS FATE
I’ve been here for 5 years. It was destiny because, before I was even asked to work here, there were a lot of signs that were pushing me to come here. I was already connected with the Arzak family in San Sebastian (nothing related to The Halkin) when I started connecting with The Halkin. I met some people working in COMO and then on the other side I met The Arzak family and they decided to work together and I was in the middle. Then they asked me to work here.

COOKING FOR THE SPANISH ROYAL WEDDING
The first time I felt important as a chef was 12 years ago when I was asked to cook for the Spanish Royal Family at the wedding dinner of the, now, King of Spain. I was so happy. The dinner was organized in collaboration with the Arzak family – I didn’t realize at the time.

IF YOU ONLY EAT 1 DISH AT AMETSA, IT HAS TO BE…
There’s a duck dish where you think you’re eating a peach but, when you taste it, you realize that it’s not a peach, it’s an apple. We call it Duck and Clumsy Peach and I love it. I feel very passionate about this dish – everything from the flavours to the design, the taste… It’s so interesting because when you think you’re going to have a bite of a peach and then you discover that it’s an apple that was cooked with saffron, it makes you think and question everything.

MY ULTIMATE COMFORT FOOD
Sandwiches. I love all of them. There are so many amazing combinations so they never get boring. I love rice too... any kind of rice…. fish, meat, vegetables. I love to cook. I love to eat. 



SECRET EATS
The best meals I’ve eaten in London were at Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester, La Gavroche and Dinner by Heston Blumenthal. I enjoyed them because the food was to my taste and they use fantastic quality ingredients. Plus, the service was perfect: they treated me very well and made me feel comfortable so I felt very happy on those days. One of my favourite dishes was the grouse wellington at La Gavroche. Simply amazing!


Sergio Sanz Blanco is the Head Chef at Ametsa with Arzak Instruction restaurant in Belgravia. 




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