People 1 minute 27 April 2017

The First Day We Got Our Stars: Nandu Jubany

The lauded Spanish chef reflects on his 20-year journey since Can Jubany first won its MICHELIN star in 1998.

It’s been nearly two decades since Can Jubany in Barcelona, the brainchild of Nandu Jubany and his wife received its first Michelin star. The Catalonian restaurant is located in a rustic farmhouse from which produce is grown and lifestock is reared.

Since then, the Jubany name has grown. Today, his portfolio runs the gamut of the food industry from research and development solutions, to events, his own hotel and even the role as gastronomic advisor to Spanish hospitality firm Majestic Hotel Group. That's of course not forgetting the number of restaurants under his name, including FOC at Hong Kong Street as well as Sentosa.

We give him time to pause and reflect on his journey from the day he received his first star in 1998.

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The exteriors of Can Jubany. Photo credit: Viamichelin
The exteriors of Can Jubany. Photo credit: Viamichelin
When was your first encounter with the Michelin Guide?
I was aware of the Michelin Guide since it was first launched as many of the best chefs in Spain and my industry colleagues had been receiving Michelin stars. I’ve always considered Michelin stars to be a great recognition in the restaurant and hospitality industry—given to those that strive for excellence, the highest levels of professionalism and who consistently present the best possible product every day. My first direct encounter with Michelin Guide was, of course, when we received the first Michelin star.

What were your thoughts when you knew you received your star?
When we received our first Michelin star, it was a form of confirmation that the path my wife and I chose was the right one. It was an honour for us to be recognised for our endeavours, philosophy and performance. We have always been true to our values, to stick by our rules, to strive to do better every day, and we intend to keep it that way.
How did you celebrate?
We celebrated with our whole team, of course, as for me it is always about the people you work with. At that time, my team was quite small: consisting of only seven people, my wife and my family—including my aunt, my mother and some friends. We popped open a few bottles of Cava and we celebrated the whole night. We also looked back on our journey, recalled our beginnings, and agreed that we should persist in our daily efforts, the way we have been doing things in the past years, and, of course, aim to improve and never cease to improve.

How much influence/inspiration does the Michelin Guide have on your career?
I think that Michelin Guide helped us to challenge ourselves even more to push boundaries and do better every day. Michelin stars have never been the only goal, as our most important objective is to make our guests happy. This has been our philosophy from the beginning and we do not intend to change it.

What advice do you have for young chefs aiming for Michelin stars?
I would advise all young chefs to focus on their work, even down to the most meticulous detail. It’s about always doing your job in the best way possible consistently each day. However, they also cannot forget about improving and always challenging themselves in different ways to progress. They also need to recognise that guests are always the highest priority and our job is to give them the most outstanding experience, so that they come back for more and are always entertained during each experience.

Recommended Reading: Chefs share what it's like for them to receive their first Michelin stars


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