Tuesday, April 16

The Extremaduran chef Alberto Montes wins the contest for the best Asian recipe in Spain

Alberto Montes, chef at the Atrio de Cáceres restaurant. / TODAY

The Japanese-traditional ramen of the Atrio chef prevails in the sixth edition of the Asian Culinary Awards


Chef Alberto Montes of the Atrio restaurant in Cáceres has become the winner of the sixth edition of the Asian Culinary Awards, the reference competition for Asian cuisine organized by UDON Asian Food.

The man from Cáceres won the final over the other two finalists, specifically, the Catalan Marcel Pons, (Hotel Mastinell, Vilafranca del Penedès), who finished second, and Javier Andrade from Burgos (La Trapera, Pradoluengo), who was third. The winner takes a trip to Asia valued at 3,000 euros.

Alberto Montes, who was already a finalist in 2021, cooks at the Atrio restaurant, the famous two-star restaurant in Cáceres led by Toño Pérez. Before, he went through the kitchens of the Casino Castell de Peralada to jump to Mugaritz, Quique Dacosta or Skina.

He started in the kitchen helping his mother, who was a cook, washing dishes, cutting potatoes and onions… Then he decided to try his luck and train as a professional. And it was at school that she really fell in love with the craft. He likes everything about Asian cuisine: starting with its flavours, aromas, techniques, its cult of gastronomy, tradition and discipline, the organization informs in a press release.

the winning recipe

Montes’ recipe that has taken him to the final is Japo Castizo Ramen, a dry ramen dish that fuses Spanish and Japanese cuisine.

In addition to ramen noodles, it has a version of brava sauce, spring onion, minced meat, egg yolk, torreznos and furikake (a Japanese seasoning to enhance the flavour). Finally, fried taro (a root vegetable from Asia) dough is placed on the plate and sprinkled with a little paprika.

In turn, Javier Andrade (Burgos, 1988), who has worked in restaurants such as Enjoy, Diverxo or Lera and today runs his own restaurant in Pradoluengo, La Trapera, has cooked his Escabeche Mussel Udon. It is a recipe that fuses Spanish and Asian flavors, based on a traditional Spanish marinade recipe and one of our favorite molluscs: the mussel.

A dish of udon noodles where proteins, cereals and vegetables are combined providing sweet, salty and acid flavors. It ends with a julienne of pippin apple, celery and mint to enhance the freshness of the dish.

For his part, the Catalan Marcel Pons, who has worked at the Barcelona-based El Nacional and at l’Angle (by Jordi Cruz) and today is head chef of the Rima restaurant at the Hotel Mastinell (Vilafranca del Penedès), has competed with his contemporary Noodles plate. The recipe is based on Chinese eggplant with miso, walnuts, sautéed edamame and shitake mushrooms and was born with the intention of creating a vegan dish and merging two cuisines, Asian and Arabic. That’s why it mixes the flavors of mint with eggplant, coconut yogurt and red curry paste.

The three finalists have cooked their recipes in a live final battle at HIP – Horeca Professional Expo before a jury made up of great professionals from the sector, including the winner of the last edition, the chef from Malaga Juan Carlos Reyes (Àbac restaurant, Barcelona) or chef Chiu Kam Hoi. They have been in charge of evaluating the dishes following criteria such as taste, texture, aroma, technique, composition, presentation or the innovation of the proposal.

The Asian Culinary Awards contest, organized by Udon, is possible thanks to the sponsorship of Coca-cola, Damm, Tokio-ya, Borges, Cominport, Conway, Copesco, Crop Salsa, Gallina Blanca, Heüra, Illy, Lee’s Food, Maestro Hoi, Nat Products, Oms y Viñas, Pole Sud, Salycop, San Pelegrino, Seda Liquida, Torres and Bunzl.


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