NTERVIEW with CHEF David Grussaute
The chef of Ibizan pine nuts and Posidonia seagrass
“You can savour the essence of Ibiza in my dishes, born out of a deep affection for the island that gives me my inspiration.”
Chef David Grussaute, who’s been in charge of the kitchen of the UNIC Restaurant for the past ten years, has spent the past few months designing a brand new gastronomic experience that’ll surprise and delight his customers in 2021.
1. What does a change in the gastronomic offer of a restaurant like Unic involve and why does it take so much work?
It’s not about introducing sudden changes, but more akin to fine-tuning or adapting Ibiza’s home-grown flavours to the palates of our clients, digging ever deeper into what really pleases them. When we reopen in April 2021 we’ll still be serving the star dishes that delight our most loyal customers, such as Ibizan red shrimp, free-range chicken cannelloni, Posidonia consommé and pork dishes with native Ibizan black pig. These signature dishes are so good that people inevitably go back to them once they’ve tried them out, and are a safe bet that’ll continue to play a big part in our gastronomic offer. The ‘classics’, as I like to call them, represent 30% of our menu, but as for the remainder, I’m working on a complete change that will take people who come back year after year completely by surprise. And, of course, I like to renew and improve myself every single day!
2. What would you say is your personal touch?
In all the dishes there’s a bit of myself so they’re obviously quite ‘personal’, as many factors come into play when it comes to preparing a new recipe: the main product, the way it’s prepared, the presentation, etc. The final result ends up being the best way to transmit to our clients the essence of Ibiza and to demonstrate that they represent a lot to us. I’m also fortunate in working for an establishment that gives me carte blanche to allow my imagination free reign. Maybe the personal touch you’re asking me about combines imaginative freedom with a deep love for Ibiza.
3. What is the star ingredient in your menu?
None in particular. I use numerous ingredients in my dishes but if any one of them was absent the end result wouldn’t be quite the same. Basically, my ingredients reflect the island’s wealth of produce, as that’s the best way to convey the essence of Ibiza. The richness of home-grown ingredients allows me to make a perfect fusion between tradition and innovation, extracting the maximum out of both.
4. If you had to highlight just one dish, which would you choose?
That’s a difficult question: in every single dish I invest my heart and soul, but if I had to pick just one or two, I’d choose the Posidonia consommé with Ibizan red shrimp and the ‘Isla de Pinos’ dessert. I think that in both of these ones I’ve succeeded in capturing the innermost essence of our island.
5. Is it true that they call you ‘the chef of pine nuts and Posidonia seagrass’?
In Spain there’s a general tendency to give people nicknames, and yes, it is true that I’m beginning to be known by this moniker. People are surprised that wonderful dishes can be made with products like Ibiza’s Posidonia seagrass or its pine nuts. So when they try them out, a certain ‘wow’ factor is inevitable, as they’re absolutely amazed to find that the result is spectacularly good.
6. What have you been inspired by to create this new gastronomic experience?
As Michal Pudelka said, ‘Inspiration is everywhere, you simply have to open your eyes wide and look around to see it.’ In my own case, I find inspiration exploring Ibiza’s hidden corners, coming across a smell that transports me, or an image – the look of certain things. However, what follows isn’t quite so simple when it comes to creating a new dish. Inspiration in the kitchen is another thing altogether, and you have to observe a certain framework, above all what lies at your disposal: facilities, staff, equipment, knowledge, etc. When all the ingredients are ready, we have to mix and blend them with local products that are at hand. This is a profession in which you never get to disconnect completely: I’m thinking all day long of new things to bring into my kitchen.
7. What would you recommend for anyone coming to the UNIC restaurant for the very first time?
I’d suggest they live to enjoy, to disconnect and to savour the essence of Ibiza in a fusion of tradition and innovation that’ll take them completely by surprise.