Juan Mari and Elena Arzak

Arzak (Spain)

Juan Mari Arzak was born in San Sebastián in 1942. He graduated at the School of Hotel Management Madrid.

After finishing his education he passed through some national and international gastronomic institutions to then settle in the family restaurant in San Sebastian that then specialized in banquets in 1965. He slowly to transformed it and from mid seventies onwards it started to receive awards and distinctions making it a reference for national and international cuisine.

In 1974 he received the National Gastronomy Award. In 1983 he was distinguished as best chef in Spain, according to readers of Club de Gourmets. In 1984 those same readers recognized his establishment as the best restaurant in the country. In 1985 again achieved the National Gastronomy Award, this time as Best Restaurant. It was one of the undisputed leaders of the movement of the New Basque Cuisine that laid the foundations of the Spanish culinary renewal.

In 1989, the restaurant received a third star from the prestigious Michelin Guide.

Amongst his many other accomplishments he has been awarded the following: Grand Prix of Art Kitchen best chef in Europe by the European Academy of Gastronomy, in 1992.

International Award of Honour ” Trophée Gourmet” – A la Carte, in 2008.

One of the highest honours bestowed on him is knight of the Order of Arts and Letters from the French Ministry of Culture in the year 1993. Just a year later he received the highest honour from his hometown The Gold Medal of the city of Donostia, delivered by the Hon. City Council as an expression of appreciation and gratitude of the people of San Sebastian of his professionalism based on extraordinary services rendered to the municipality.

The culminating moment of his career was in 2008 and being awarded the title of ” Universal Basque ” by appointment of the Basque Autonomous Government.


Elena Arzak was born in Donostia – San Sebastián in 1969. Between 1988 and 1991, she studied at the School of Hotel Management in Lucerne, Switzerland. In 1989 she completed a stage for the front of house of the National Hotel Lucerne. In the early ninties she also worked in the reception of the Zurich international Hotel. Elena also honed her skills in the kitchen of the famous La Gavroche in London and the Hotel Château Güstsch in Lucerne, Switzerland.

Elena’s experimental training in the kitchen has been substantial having had jobs in Troisgros in Roanne, as well as Carré des Feuillants, Le Vivarois and Pierre Gagnaire in Paris.

Elena has trained in no shortage of highly regarded establishments like the Louis XV in Monte Carlo, Antica Osteria di Ponte Di Lugagno in Cassinetta and el Bulli.

The International Academy of Gastronomy honoured Elena with the prestigious Chef de L`Avenir award in May 2000. She is recognized as one of the most promising chefs worldwide.

Elena runs the restaurant Alto De Miracruz in tandem with her father Juan Mari Arzak. As time goes by more and more recipes are featured on the menu that are conceived and developed by her.