ÉLECTRONS LIBRES-LITHUANIAN CHEF: JAVIER LOPEZ-RUIZ
The Électrons Libres, is a group of chefs that are as individual or as leaders of a group have taken a unique route that goes beyond the learning process. Their philosophy transforms the cuisine of the present time as well as the cuisine of the future in a specific area (place) or country. Sometimes they are the leaders of a culinary movement but often, they are alone in their search. Javier Lopez-Ruiz is a good example of an ‘’Électron Libre’’.
Javier Lopez-Ruiz is born in Barcelona. He has worked in various Michelin Star Restaurant before to became the Executive chef of DOMM. Just think at Sea Grill (Brussels), Carles Gaig (Barcelona) or Au Crocrodile (Strasbourg). Lopez-Ruiz has also hosted many culinary events as far as Iceland, Finland, Sweden, Russia and others.
His cuisine mixes the senses and the contemporary influences, it is constantly evolving and is always innovative. His Spanish origin, the travels and the produces from Lithuania transformed his own and unique style. His contribution to the local gastronomy will allow to Vilnius to be on the Map of the Haute Gastronomy.
Q+A WITH JAVIER LOPEZ-RUIZ (www.domm.lt ):
1-(Scoffier) How do you explain the philosophy behind your cuisine and what is it main characteristics?
JLopezRuiz- The philosophy, of my cuisine, first is to enjoy this wonderful job …. Then I focus in the palate, product, surprise, relax, pleasure, this is what we try to translate to the plate that we gave to the client in the restaurant…I think that is a good job to do in a restaurant, the chef should try plus enjoy it.
2-(Scoffier) Do you have a particular foods (or products) that you often use in your recipes?
JLopezRuiz- Yes, I do have particular products, that I love to use, but somehow in nowadays the flexibility means intelligence, then I do try to use not only particular products… as well looking for open up for other interesting flavors.
3-(Scoffier) Do you have a mentor (chefs or anybody else) that inspires you in your cuisine?
JLopezRuiz- I have been working for very good chefs with Michelin stars or no Michelin stars from all of them. I always get some inspiration, touch, way…even last year for one of my stagier I get some inspiration, so it means that we still young and learning, this is very important in a kind of job based in the creation ability.
4-(Scoffier) Do you have a particular flavour or taste from your childhood that is again memorable?
JLopezRuiz- Gamba Roja de Garrucha- (Fresh red prawn for Andalusia coast – Almeria) Lovely! I spent the summers of my childhood there is a very special product for me. As well I remember my childhood in the market as my mother had a poultry store, so I was helping in her work-task, a market it’s the perfect place to meet ingredients!
5-(Scoffier) Is there any elements from your cuisine that is typical from the Lithuania?
JLopezRuiz- Yes, when you travel you discover, there are some products, twist, techniques that I meet and learn from here, and I do use, also you always have to respect the local public, with some local ingredients, it’s a good way of connection! Smoked eel, rich assortment of mushrooms, game, berries…
6-(Scoffier) Can you describe the restaurant’s scene of Vilnius and the progression of the gastronomy?
JLopezRuiz- It’s improving, when you look 5 years ago, people are trying to offer other kinds of restaurants, services, caterings, but I think that we have to work hard for a new evolution in the restaurant scene.
As well this is connected with the city transformation.
7-(Scoffier) You are near of the Scandinavian countries, you are influenced by the New Nordic Cuisine movement (René Redzepi and the others)?
JLopezRuiz- I don’t’ really see cuisine influence in the Baltic countries with Scandinavia, some of products are similar, but in traditions, culture, are definitely differents.
8-(Scoffier) How you construct your Menu?
JLopezRuiz- A menu it should be fair, it’s a work of inspiration mixed with, savoir faire, seasons, experience, feelings, and afterwards, when this is balanced, the creation of the chef have the right to express.
9-(Scoffier) I know that many chefs take a lot of time choosing and picking their produces. It’s difficult for you to find the fresh produces?
JLopezRuiz- Looking 6 years ago, it has been a bit different picture, now it’s not a problem we do get a very big assortment of products, specially for restaurants, but I think, that, is when you have to appreciate more the local products and to try to get the best result with it, not only focusing in the exotic and fancy product-globalization from abroad.
10-(Scoffier) Do you use some elements from molecular gastronomy or new technology in your cooking techniques? If yes, which?
JLopezRuiz- We did some work with, nitrogen, sous-vide cooking in bath with precise temperature controls, dehydration, foams, spherification etc. And Ye, it is a universe to discover, for all chefs, actually we are in talks with Kaunas University of technology to try to do some project together.
11-(Scoffier) Can you give us a detailed recipe (signature or an important dish) that is characterized the cuisine of Javier Lopez Ruiz and DOMM?
JLopezRuiz- See the recipe Sea & Mountain.
12-(Scoffier) What is your goal (ambitions) as a chef? Do you think to write a book, a television show, other?
JLopezRuiz- Ambitions there are a lot, in summer we will open La Provence in Moscow and it is a big challenge for us, as well in the end of spring we will open in Vilnius a concept wine-bar with some tapas. For us, all interesting projects are welcome and it doesn’t matter in witch format TV, books, restaurants … Still the important is to make it with passion!
RECIPE: Sea and Mountain; Smoked eel / Foie gras / Apple / Gold / Pedro Ximenez (Serves 4)
One of the culinary traditions carefully preserved in the Catalan cuisine are called Mar y Muntanya it means sea and mountain- thanks to the geographical location (Pyrenees and the Mediterranean Sea). It’s the result of a mixture of flavors as meat with fish, poultry-seafood……sweet and salty…here it’s our example of one Sea and Mountain.
INGREDIENTS & PROGRESSION RECIPE
-180 gr. Foie gras (terrine)
-180 gr. smoked eel
-2 green apples
-40 gr. green peas sprout
-75 gr. butter
-80 cl. white wine
-80 cl. Pedro Ximenez (sweet Sherry)
-0,2 gr. gold
-35 gr. green pistachio
-200 gr. fresh cranberry juice
-2 gr. agar-agar
-140 gr. brown sugar
-200 cl. apple juice
-0,3 gr. lecite
-Flowers for decoration
1. Bring to boil the Pedro Ximenez sherry, when it reduces will take the consistence of a sauce, add the gold powder, reserve for decorate.
2. Bring to boil the cranberry juice and add the agar-agar, reserve in cold place, cut in cubes in cubes of 0,5 x o,5 cm.
3. Peel and cut in small cubes the apple and stir with white wine, add the brown sugar, till the apple became tender, blend it, till became a softer puree, reserve.
4. Slice the apple in thin slices, then sautéed with butter for 1 minute in the pan.
5. Make a sandwich with the smoked eel, the sliced sautéed apple and the Foie gras terrine, cover it with brown sugar and caramelize it.
6. Bring the apple juice in a pot and add the lecite, mixed with a blender, mix the mixture became as foam.
7. Place the ingredients in the dish, and add the apple foam, pistachio and gelatine decorate with the flowers (see the picture).
-Restaurant DOMM/Chef Javier Lopez-Ruiz
Didzioji ST. 31, Vilnius Town Hall
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