OCTOBER 9, 2020
When Juan Mari told his mother that he wanted to go to catering school, she tried to persuade him to choose a career with a brighter future. Sixty years later, the social prestige of gastronomy is enormous. The change has been nothing short of revolutionary, and today many children are encouraged by their parents to become great cooks. Juan Mari has lived through this revolution in person and has been a fundamental part of it. Arzak, the family eatery located on Alto de Miracruz in San Sebastián, has become one of the best restaurants in the world. Now, a new generation has taken over. Elena Arzak, Juan Mari’s daughter, is now in charge of the restaurant and her father is retiring little by little. It’s a time to reflect; to weigh up an entire life. Time to analyse the transformation of traditional cooking in the new auteur cuisine.
Direction & Screenplay:
Asier Altuna Iza
Juan Mari Arzak y Elena Arzak
With the participation of:
Marta Arzak, Ferran Adrià, Pedro Subijana, Joan Roca, Karlos Arguiñano, Andoni Luis Aduriz, Dabiz Muñoz… and the Arzak team, Igor Zalakain, Xabi Gutiérrez and Kontxi Beobide
JUAN MARI ARZAK
In 1966, Juan Mari Arzak took over the restaurant with his mother. She was an expert in traditional Basque cuisine, to which he added his great curiosity and desire to innovate. This led him to prepare his own recipes. Traditional Basque dishes with his own personal touch.
Soon, his great talent gained some attention, and at just 32 years of age, he received the National Gastronomy Prize, and Restaurant Arzak was awarded its first star from the prestigious Michelin Guide in 1972. From the mid-seventies, it began to receive prizes and acknowledgements which made Restaurant Arzak an icon in national and international gastronomy. In 1976, Juan Mari Arzak, together with group of chefs, revolutionised cuisine and created a concept and a movement: The New Basque Cuisine. In 1978, Arzak was awarded its second Michelin star and in 1989, it received its third star from the Michelin Guide. It was the second restaurant to receive the triple award in Spain, and it has maintained it ever since.
In the nineties, Elena Arzak, daughter of Juan Mari Arzak, joined the family restaurant. Elena attended catering college in Switzerland and then worked at some of the great kitchens throughout Europe, including the Maison Troisgros , Pierre Gagnaire, Carré des Feuillants and Le Vivarois in France, Louis XV in Montecarlo, Le Gavroche in London, Antica Ostería del Ponte in Italy and El Bulli in Spain. In May 2001, she received the Chef de l’Avenir prize from the International Academy of Gastronomy. In 2010, the Spanish Academy of Gastronomy awarded her the National Gastronomy Prize. And in 2012, she was crowned Best Female Chef in the World by Veuve Clicquot.
Today, alongside his daughter, Elena, Juan Mari Arzak shares not only the kitchen, but also knowledge, passion and a desire to continue making history at Arzak.
Producer: Iñaki Burutxaga
Executive producer: Jone Miren Goenaga
Production Direction: Jone Miren Goenaga, Manu Paino
Cinematography: Txarli Arguiñano, Javi Agirre
Cameras: Juantxu Beloki, Jon Sangroniz, Lander Andonegi y Gaizka Bourgeaud, Asier Altuna, Javi Agirre, Txarli Argiñano
Original soundtrack: Maite Arroitajauregi “Mursego”
Edition: Demetrio Elorz
Art Director: Itziar Bandrés
Make-up / Hair / Costume Design: Eli Unanue, Enara Roteta
Sound Mixing and Editing: Iosu Gonzalez
Direct Sound: Alazne Ameztoy, Iñigo Azkue
Digital Effects: Raúl Lopez, Nekane Lopez De Goicoechea, Aitor Sutil, Lara Iturain
Genre: Documentary / Length: 70 min. / Format: 4K
ASIER ALTUNA IZA
FILMOGRAFÍA COMO DIRECTOR Y GUIONISTA
2019- Agur Etxebeste! (90')
2015- Amama (103’)
2011- Bertsolari (90’)
2005- Aupa Etxebeste, (90’)- Nominada al Goya a Mejor dirección novel.
2014- Soroa (13’)- Estreno sección Zabaltegi Festival de San Sebastián.
2013- Zela Trovke - Cortando hierba (13’) - Estreno festival de cine de San Sebastian Zabaltegi. 80 festivales, 21 premios. Seleccionada por la Academia de Cine para optar al GOYA al mejor cortometraje documental.
2010- Artalde (8’)- Estrenado en Zinebi y ganador del primer premio al mejor cortometraje. Más de 100 festivales.
2005- Sarean (5’)
2005- Topeka (4’)
1999- 40 ezetz (14’)
1998- Txotx (15’)
FILMOGRAFÍA COMO GUIONISTA
2011- Urte berri on, amona! (100’)- Co-escrito junto a Telmo Esnal, dirigido por Telmo Esnal.
Arzak Since 1897
ARZAK was an economical eatery which opened its doors in 1897. Today, after more than 100 years of gastronomic history, it is one of the few restaurants in the world to have maintained three Michelin stars for three complete decades. What best defines the Arzak family is that they have never moved from their original location on Alto de Miracruz in San Sebastián. That loyalty to the origins, that tribute to former generations, is part of their successful formula.
At the same time, ARZAK is true to its taste, the taste of the people around it. Its philosophy has always been to cook the flavours of the Basque Country faithfully. Juan Mari Arzak continues to make use of his ground-breaking cooking, that which led to him receiving the first Michelin star in 1972 and the third in 1989, a recognition which he has maintained since then and shares with his daughter Elena Arzak. She is the living reincarnation of that Basque cuisine which looks out at the world, so characteristic, so surprising. At the same time, Elena carries responsibility for the restaurant at the moment, she is the present and future of ARZAK.
Right now, very importantly in the biography of the man and the history of the restaurant, Juan Mari is retiring from the front-line, passing all the weight of the business to the hands of the next generation, led by his daughter Elena. We are lucky that ARZAK has opened its doors to us, the doors of its house, of its intimacy, to become direct witnesses of such an important moment.
Elena’s role is not easy. It’s difficult to avoid being labelled as “the daughter of”. She has had to take charge of the restaurant without her father stopping work at any point. She is heading one of the few restaurants which has not lost its three Michelin stars for three decades, with everything that this implies. What’s more, she is a woman in a world, the world of cuisine, which is almost one hundred percent dominated by men. How do father and daughter deal with the generational changeover? What does it mean to Juan Mari to delegate the business and all that ARZAK involves to his daughter Elena? And what is it like for Elena to assume the mantle of the weighty name that is a landmark in cuisine?