Learning to cook at the Basque Culinary Centre
The Basque Culinary Centre is the first university of Spanish cuisine. Located in the Miramon Technology Park, just a few minutes’ bus ride from the centre of San Sebastian, it was opened in September 2011 and is currently the main training centre for the future talents of haute cuisine, hospitality and the Spanish food industry.
Some of the best chefs in the world, such as Alex Atala, Gastón Acurio, Heston Blumenthal, René Redzepi, Massimo Bottura, Michel Bras, Dan Barber, Yukio Hattori and Ferran Adrià, are on its International Advisory Board and are, in fact, its 'ambassadors' in and out of Spain.
The five-storey and 15,000 square metre building that houses the Basque Culinary Centre was designed by the Basque Vaumm architecture studio and intentionally reminds us of five stacked plates. This is not the only nod to cuisine: here, exterior aluminium coexists with rosemary plants in the vertical garden at the entrance.
In the academic year 2011-2012, the Basque Culinary Centre received its first 56 students on the Degree in Gastronomy and Culinary Arts, but it has also started its training courses for professionals and two master’s degrees: Innovation in Restaurant Management and Cuisine, Technique and Product.
However, this centre is not only aimed at professionals or future professionals of cuisine, but also at the 'enthusiastic', i.e. lovers of the art.
This summer, for example, there are courses in English dedicated both to pintxos (the traditional Basque bites) and Basque cuisine in general. In one morning one can learn how to cook a 'pantxineta' (a cream-filled puff), a real marmitako (fish stew made with vegetables and served in a clay pot), or cod pil-pil, with garlic, oil and chilli.
The rest of the year there are specialized courses on creative Italian cuisine or pastry lasting one or two months; courses taught by great chefs, workshops focusing on specific products such as rice and asparagus from Navarre; showcookings and wine and cheese tastings. Prices for these courses range from a minimum of 25 Euros to a maximum of 280 Euros.
There are also options for children, such as some workshops also open to the youngest, or Udan, a summer camp where young people aged between 14 and 17 years can learn about products, the preparation of traditional dishes, and table decoration for special occasions and also hike and swim at the beach at the same time.
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