Andoni was born to cook. His was a difficult academic childhood, he had failed almost every subject in school. Andoni’s mother, frustrated and at her wits’ end, decided to enroll him in the local culinary school. Her personal life experience had known long periods of starvation after the Spanish civil war, and she believed that at least if Andoni could learn to cook, he wouldn’t starve. It was a decision that changed Andoni’s life and the course of gastronomy forever. Andoni learned how to express himself through his cooking, pouring his heart into his dishes. He had finally found an outlet for his curiosity and creativity and his love of country.
The chef completed his academic studies at the School of Hotel and Restaurant Management in Donostia-San Sebastian. He subsequently worked with some of Spain’s most renowned chefs such as Ramón Roteta, Hilario Arbelaitz, Jean Louis Neichel, Juan Mari Arzak, Fermín Arrambide and Pedro Subijana, which cultivated a great respect for his country’s culinary traditions. In 1993 and 1994, Andoni spent two years at Ferran Adria’s El Bulli and a world of gastronomic possibility was revealed.
He returned to his beloved Basque country in 1995 to work with Martin Berasategui but in 1998 he left his head chef position to open his own establishment, Mugaritz. Mugaritz offered the chef an outlet for his relentless creativity, a place to develop his own innovative ideas, and a space that allowed him to embrace the traditions that defined his personal culinary style. The perfect combination of groundbreaking techniques and traditional Basque country ingredients, Mugaritz has won several awards and has become not only one of Spain’s most influential restaurants, but a key component of the Basque cult.