I had to pleasure to meet a while ago at Phoenicia Hotel Beirut the Michelin star chef “Fernando Canales Etxanobe” who was in Lebanon end of January 2015 to add a Spanish touch with refreshing and delicious dishes at Sydney’s Club Bar and Restaurant and Eau De Vie.
Since 1998, he runs his restaurant Etxanobe, which bears his mother’s maiden name. In addition to its activity in the restaurant, which boasts a Michelin star and two suns in the Repsol guide, he works with various media. For seven years he held the cooking show on Localia, currently airs in the US on the VME chain and in Moscow in the food service channel. He is also a regular contributor to radio. In summer 2009 live from Bilbao, he developed a cooking show for La 1 TVE.
Get to know him more here
1- When did you know you wanted to be a chef? And Where were you trained?
I was very bad at school, hyperactive child. I come from a family of engineers, and I used to see my father very happy while cooking, so when I was 19 years old I decided to go this way. I went to a cooking school and I loved it. I used to cook for my friends and family and read a lot about cooking. I was very curious and got details from people who are really dedicated to cooking. I studied at the School of Hospitality Leioa, then moved to France and from the hand of Francis Ducasse (Alain Ducasse’s first teacher) I started in the professional kitchen. I learned a lot in France because of the rich culture, and became very discipline in the kitchen “Il faut faire les choses comme il faut” There was a lot of competition too, but it was motivating me to do more and excel. I used to find a way to make things more interesting and keep motivating myself. Then I went back to Spain, worked for two years in Bodegon, then in Bilbao for 10 years. I worked with several chefs for around 20 years and it’s when I decided to have something for my own.
2- How do you get your inspiration?
I get inspired from anything around me, from experiencing new places and cultures. for example I tried the summak in Lebanon and I will implement it in my new cuisine. I am very spiritual, I can detect positive vibes in things, which helps me with my inspiration. I also love to relax by the beach, it calms me, gives me tranquility, spirituality and peace, which helps me clear my mind and find new inspirations.
3- What is your favorite kitchen equipment or gadget?
It gives me a sense of organisation.
4- What characterizes your cuisine?
My cuisine is about sea food. I live between the sea and the mountains and we have a very rich sea in Spain, where you can find different kinds of fish not existing elsewhere. My cuisine is also different from others, because I love attention to details, i’m very picky and I have no fixed rules, I can mix flavors as much as I want.
5- Is there a food that you hate?
I love food, there’s nothing that I hate. In Spain, we eat a lot of pasta and vegetables, similar to the food in Lebanon. But when I was a kid, few things I didn’t like chick peas.
6- What advice can you give for the housewives who are inspired by your style of cookery?
My advice for housewives, is to try the same recipe with different ingredients, to know how to choose the best ingredient.