What is your position at the restaurant?
I'm the executive chef. So I run the restaurant kitchen and create the menu options.
Tell us about Barcelona?
Our core menu is 'interesting stuff from Spain.' We have many tapas, chacuterie, and of course, cheeses. For a long time I was passionate about Italian chacuterie... but Spanish pork is just better. We have several amazing paellas – a seafood "paella de marisco" with a tomato and pepper sofrito - a "paella salvaje" that contains exotic meats, rabbits, seafood, and sausage, and a "paella verdure" that is a vegetable options – that one is seasonal and we are constantly changing it up.
Tell us about yourself as a chef?
I'm from Boston and the Berkshires – my background is Italian. I started out at La Bruschetta... I knew I always wanted to go to Florence and work there. Il Chivrea is a classic Italian restaurant and that's where I started out in Italy – although – of course, there is no such thing as Italian food in Italy. It really taught me to appreciate regional cuisine and research the region. I also worked with Mario Batali when I moved back to Boston. I headed back to Italy and worked at Ristorante Al Campo in Bologna – which was a totally different experience from Florence. I then returned to the states and opened a restaurant with my brother called Fiore – and from there I was discovered by Adam Halberg, who is the Executive Chef of all the Barcelona restaurants. I took the position as I was very interested in Spanish cuisine – which is just as regional and diverse as Italian.
You seem to have quite a few special events going on. Can you tell us a bit about those?
Sure – right now we are planning a series of regional dinners to highlight specific regions in Spain. First will be a Galicia dinner, followed by Catalunya, and finally Andalucia. Galicia has a large Celtic population incorporated right into the Spanish one – it's the last Celtic pocket in Spain. The food is influenced by that and the natural bounty of the region – they are famous for their scallops. It's all about simplicity. They take fantastic ingredients and change them as little as possible. They are also famous for their pastures and veal. So we are going to make a veal empanada. We will also have one of my favorite desserts, and we will be recommending wine pairing from the region and from our wine list.
You also do cooking classes right?
Yes! There's one tonight in fact. A pastry class: we will be working with molten chocolate tortes, very thin crepes with dulce de leche and finally – a crostada with fruits. In addition to the dessert classes, future cooking classes will include a crudo and ceviche class (Peruvian ceviche as well ceviche in the style of Ecuador and a typical salted fish from Spain). That will be on Monday, May 20th. On the 24th of June, I will be hosting a grilled pizza class – we will make the dough from scratch and show the best way to open and pull it out – as well as making a good pomodoro and a house made mozzarella.
Alex Feldman on living and working in Italy
How Barcelona manages several locations without feeling "corporate"
Barcelona's upcoming grilled pizza class
In the kitchen: How to fold crostada
In the kitchen: How to cut pata negra