The Basque city of San Sebastián boasts picturesque beaches, beautiful architecture and more Michelin stars per square metre than any other city in the world. The coastal town’s global reputation is thanks to the way restaurants that have been around for generations have embraced gastronomy. The area is home to New Basque Cuisine, a tradition focussed on supporting local markets and farmers. At its forefront is Elena Arzak, whose namesake restaurant has held three Michelin stars since 1989.
Arzak is the fourth generation to head up her family’s restaurant. Working in tandem with her father renowned chef Juan Mari Arzak, she made her own mark when she won the Veuve Clicquot award for World’s Best Female Chef in 2012. But how does a restaurant maintain its vigour over generations? Taking to the Design Indaba stage this year, Arzak says it comes down to a respect for old tradition, a respect for culture and a group of chefs who were a little bit crazy.