Joaquín Felipe Peira and «My Way, sky bar» on the tenth floor of Gran Vía’s number 42, Madrid
«My Way, sky bar» is a true jewel in the heart of Madrid, it has stunning 360º view of the city. From here, time passes slowly, it is like getting away from the hustle and bustle of the street.
Joaquín Felipe Peira, one of the leading Spanish chefs, is the director and executive chef of the restaurant and terrace. The proposal he has come up with for My Way is that there’s no menu, but an 8-step tasting menu, developed every 15 days, with or without wine pairing. And a brunch, on Saturdays and Sundays, served at a table. A whole gastronomic experience and at an affordable price.
Chef Joaquín Felipe is in one of the best moments of his career, with 35 years of experience, runs away from gastronomic trends, enjoying his cooking with total freedom, following the old cookbook with his personal, creative and modern touch. And one of its rules is to use local and ecological products.
His pillars of gastronomy were his parents as cooks, from them he learned to work in volume and good taste, and with his teacher Luis Irizar, the first Basque to receive a Michelin star, he discovered the pleasure of cooking and managing work teams.
In this interview, we talk about his professional experience, his proposal in My Way, his favorite local products and his new projects that are on the way.
By Fabiola Gálvez
You ran the Joaquín Felipe restaurant, Aspen La Moraleja, Florida Retiro and Grupo El Pradal, in total, are 35 years of experience. What have you learned in all this time of trajectory?
The most important thing is how lively I have been, sometimes that is good or bad, and over the years I have been seeing how cooking has been changing, it has nothing to do with how it used to be when I started and how everything has improved. I started with a Basque-French cuisine, French cuisine was very present and in my time in Paradis, olive oil began to be seen on the tables, that EVOO culture did not exist; The refined oil was very popular.
It was expected to fry with olive oil, but not burn it excessively, the oil bears, but in the end, you ended up frying with petroleum due to ignorance. As soon as a good training in the kitchens has begun, that has disappeared and sometimes it was a bit of everything, saving and being able to get the most of everything, that’s fine, but in that, it has improved a lot, the treatment of the product in general.
Now talking about «My Way, sky bar»
You point out that in this kitchen you have reinvented yourself and you are developing totally different cooking, you have much more freedom to create. What is this bet about? Is it more avant-garde?
I develop a menu every 15 days, with 3 tapas, 3 half portions, and 2 desserts. First I look for 8 products and from that, I begin to assign this for a tapa or for a mini ration, and I think they will fit well. I also see seasonal products, and on that, I develop the menu and start working with the next one.
I’m looking for less product and more cooking, especially in vegetables: a chard cream, some pumpkin ribbons flavored with shrimp. I am looking for something else than putting a large piece of tuna on the top, or an open clam, which in itself is a great dish and product.
Also, I look for some recipe book and cook it. In the end, there are product trends, or you take the restaurant menus and it’s like they are photocopied.
Now I have given a talk to the guys in a school and I tell them that Instagram is fine, but it hurts because most of the restaurants are copying each other, the same shrimp, the same broth. There is an excessive focus on crockery, it is good, but sometimes in the tasting menu, the crockery is more predominant than what is inside.
Now everything has to be instagrammable?
I spent 12 years at Derbi Hotels, between the Hotel Villa Real and the hotel Urbans. When I decided to leave, I said that I already did everything I had to do and say. Obviously, the salaries are good. There are many things that could stop me, but deep down inside I’m glad to make the decision, of my time in Aspe, Florida because you realize that all those things that I have said are a copy and paste of recipes.
Regarding the menu, you don’t have dishes from the à la carte menu…
The people who book already know that they come to eat the tasting menu.
The menu also changes so as not to lose the mental exercise to continue working.
The idea is to make a recipe book of 300 or 400 My Way recipes.
So, do you have the idea of writing a book?
Yes, I made one that ANAYA asked me at the time, which we call “The perfect hamburger”, and my idea of this second book, is that everything is documented, can be a pretty cool book.
The tasting menu has a very good price, it is adjusted for the average.
The idea was also to adjust it to 38.50 without wines, and with wine pairing, 50 euros. All my experience at the stove allows me to be myself.
If we visit the restaurant, what experience are we going to have?
My Way invites you to watch a good sunset, it also depends a little on the month, go up to the rooftop to have a snack, for lunch or dinner. If it’s a weekend, they can have brunch, or it’s more like lunch, because it’s served at a table, it’s not a buffet, I don’t know if you’ve seen the tables, it’s a large window that overlooks Callao, you can come to drink coffee.
My Way can be an experience in the heights of Madrid, you have that old roof feeling that looks like a little town, and from time to time, you see those last generation buildings. We have Sol’s clock facing us, we have practically 360 degrees in Madrid. It is just the highest terrace in Callao, where you have Plaza España from above, and down to Gran Vía. It is the 10th floor, which may not seem high, we are a little above the Schweppes sign of Gran Vía.
In reference to the product, you use the local and also ecological
Do you work with small producers?
As much as possible. It is a bit more complicated, but all the products that are around, for example, I am currently working with Arganda wines, they have improved a lot with the wines. Arganda, which is a humble cooperative, is doing very well, we are working with them and putting it in value.
The Community of Madrid, depending on where, if it is North, South, East, West, it depends on the province that is attached, it also has its product, but almost everything was for immediate consumption in its surroundings or for sale. Now, some product is being recovered for restoration.
The oil of Finca La Torre of Antequera is a small ecological, biodynamic farm, has been awarded 5 times in Spain. I try to find the product and the one who does it because when you know the one who does it, you know why he does so. He cannot make a bad oil in life, because he has it inside and knows what he has to do to get the best out of it, which is not profitability, because in this case, when you harvest it in green, you obviously have much less liters than if you ripen the fruit, the taste, the color, and the smell, it has nothing to do.
The same with honey, they have an association called APISCAM that is made up of beekeepers in the Sierra de Madrid.
And about cattle, the best known is from the Sierra of Guadarrama.
Any product that is special that you use for your dishes?
The fine garlic of Chinchón, it has a lower yield, it is smaller, but at the level of flavor, it has nothing to do with Chinese garlic. Any dish you can make with garlic or a cream.
In the Chinchón area, there are several villages with a good garden, tomatoes, peppers. There is everything. I try to go find it or ask for it to be brought to me, because they are small producers that do not have that structure to serve most of the time, practically you have to go looking for it and by asking you find it, these people sell everything from the doorstep. There, in Chinchón, I work with Emilio, because his father cultivates everything in seasonal products and whenever I have time, I visit them. The quality and price deserve it and also because of my customers’ health.
Thank you very much, chef Joaquín Felipe!
Very soon, chef Joaquín Felipe is going to present a new proposal at Mercado San Ildefonso, in Fuencarral street, «Veganias», a vegan stand, with tapas. Besides, he’ll prepare his next book that will be a compendium of the recipes made in My Way.
We wish him the best from Cook Concern.
My Way, sky bar, is a restaurant and terrace that allows you to contemplate the most beautiful sunsets in Madrid for its panoramic view of the skyline. It is on the roof of the Apart Hotel Smart Rental Collection. Have a drink at the bar or enjoy the 8-step tasting menu of Joaquín Felipe Peira, one of the leading chefs of Spanish cuisine. It is very worthwhile!
If you want to be part of the My Way team, contact https://joaquinfelipe.info/contacto
Facebook fanpage: @JoaquinFelipePeira