Dani Garcia

It was not surprising to hear from a most personable and casual chef with whom I’ve crossed paths on several occasions. Once it occurred in 2013 at his Restaurant Tempranillo in NYC – to which I had
gone with the 2012 group of the Lorca’s Granada writers’ retreat when we had been invited to attend the opening of the extraodinary exhibition Back Tomorrow – Federico Garcia Lorca – Poet in New York.

But the only other time we chatted at great length was nearly twenty years ago, after a glorious meal I had been served in a nearly empty dining room in that legendary town Ronda- perched way above Marbella’s zero altitude above the Mediterranea’s azure. That was when he was a young potential already bearing a single Michelin macaron to build upon.

“ You came up there?” he interjected, surprised, in our very recent conversation. It apparently was a long lost memory for him from decades of serving thousands of clients in different locations – and a revolving door of culinary critics and journalists anxious for a meet and eat.

Right after my interview, his communications assistant was anxious to whisk him away to a television crew – and before he would be travelling for another request.

Indeed, this new menu – Arcadia – was something that had evolved, a way he was returning to his place of vision and creation within himself, less conscious of media demands, a sort of coming gastronomically home- especially after, he agreed, his persona had become too often identified by the media, to only the vanguard culinary techniques with liquid nitrogen for which he was ceaselessly invited as the proponent bar none.

However, none of that could have prepared me of news that would come in the final couple of months of 2018. In mid-November, Mr. Garcia announced he would be closing Restaurante Dani Garcia and this marvellous dining experience Arcadia by 2020. Were finances that bad, had critics mercilessly critcized this very personal cuisine?

No, he was as gratified as ever- perhaps more than ever. At the same time, he felt compelled to seek other gratifications. With "my great respect to Michelin” he would be closing that Marbella jewel, that gastronomic destination that on November 18, 2018, was awarded the most coveted, third Michelin star.
For now, he had come to the end of the high cuisine world.

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