Chef Daniel Negreira was born and raised in Santiago de Compostela, Galicia, but moved to San Sebastian, located on the coast, in the Basque Country, when he was thirteen years of age. His main source of inspiration came when he was a mere toto, about 6 years old. He spent the weekend afternoons helping his Grandmother prepare the family meal, admiring how she was able to create magic with just a few basic ingredients.
Chef Daniel Negreira stated: “ To be living in a place like San Sebastian was also one of the reasons [why I am what I am now], as the city breathes gastronomy, and the people are used to gathering together to cook and show their skills, and those were probably the underlying reasons for me to pursue my profession as a Chef. ”
Chef Daniel Negreira studied at the Escuela Superior de Hosteleria y Turismo de San Sebastian, a great experience that he shall always remember and is associated to warm feelings.
After meeting this extraordinary personage of culinary art I proceeded to interview him.
Margaux: Chef Daniel, tell us about your published books, and where are our readers can order them.
Chef Daniel: I have published two books so far; the first is titled A Walk Through Spain, focusing on the basic techniques for those who enjoy cooking at home with limited equipment. This book sold over 12,000 copies and is in its 4th edition now.
The 2nd book, is called Discovering The Modern Chef. This book focuses on the professional side, the latest modernist techniques, implementing some local Taiwanese ingredients and highlighting the importance of wine and food pairing.
Margaux: Chef Daniel, why Taipei, Taiwan ?
Chef Daniel: I have said that somebody put something in my drink ! However, in actuality, I came to Taipei, Taiwan, because of my wife, who is Taiwanese and after spending seven years in Taipei I am really happy about the decision. The country is lovely with plenty of gastronomic secrets awaiting to be discovered by European Chefs, and legions of Foodies from the world over, looking for new gastronomic experiences. Besides, I have always loved Asia.
Margaux: Please tell us about your restaurant, DN Innovations, and what is your culinary philosophy ?
Chef Daniel: The restaurant could be considered as a “ personal cuisine”. I try to base my carte on fresh market availability, that I visit on a regular basis, and of course, depending on season, I try to keep a balance between the local products and the imported, although this balance is gradually giving way to the amazing Taiwanese natural wonders that I have sourced from the harbours or farms and around the country.
Margaux: Can you tell us about your mentors ?
Chef Daniel: I have been honored and have worked for some of the best Masters in Spain, who have all enriched my knowledge and my passion for this amazing “ gastronomic game” of being a Chef.
If I need to narrow down, the Masters who have influenced me the most, I might say, are two geniuses, Chef Juan Mari Arzak and Chef Xabier Gutierrez.
Margaux: What or who have you considered to be the greatest Chefs in dressage and presentation and how do you go about preparing a dish for a client ? Do you sketch the design, and / or browse websites, books, etcetra. What is your general plan for designing a presentation ?
Chef Daniel: There are numerous Chefs that I consider Masters when it comes to presentations, but Chef Joan Roca might be on the top of my list. I myself need to decide how to present a new dish or implement a new ingredient, and I always let my intuition guide me. I enjoy the element of abstract, and reflection of the essence of the recipe and the cultural approach.
Margaux: Thank you very much for such interesting insights.
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