To travel, to try new things, to see the world. Paco Morales (Córdoba, 1982) is well aware of the importance of these things for a chef. He knew it right from the start, when he decided to turn his attention to gastronomy. As is only natural, he occasionally had doubts but his determination remained, and his love of food and cooking was always able to overcome any obstacles in his way.
Morales left his home town of Cordoba and his family with the sole aim of becoming a widely-respected chef. Though calm by nature, with a touch of shyness, the sort of person who likes to stop and think before answering, in the kitchen he is demanding – with the products used, with his team, and with all the work involved in serving his customers.
His high standards have marked the whole of his career, which included periods at the Guggenheim restaurant in Bilbao, Mugaritz under Andoni Luis Aduriz and elBulli under Ferran Adrià, after which he returned to Mugaritz. There he was able to work alongside one of his heroes and best friends. Morales is only too happy to admit the influence of Aduriz on his culinary philosophy, but he knew the time would come to go it alone. So, as soon as the opportunity arose, he took it, in the company of his wife, sommelier Rut Cotroneo.
A culinary itinerary
In 2007, a luxury hotel in Madrid, Hospes, suggested he took charge of its restaurant, Senzone. With just a few tables, it was in a strategic location in the center, next to the Puerta de Alcalá. He accepted the challenge and reaped immediate success. Just a few months later, the food press was unanimous in its verdict. Paco Morales had found his place on the Madrid culinary scene on his own merits, with creative dishes that stemmed from reflection and love of good produce.
But Madrid was not to be his final destination. Certain differences of opinion with the ownership of the hotel and a wish to spread his wings led him to set out on a new professional journey, 400 km / 250 miles from Madrid due east. The Hotel Ferrero, in Bocairent (Valencian Community) awaited him with open arms to inaugurate its restaurant Ferrero by Paco Morales.
There, in peaceful surroundings cradled by aromas from the nearby Mediterranean, Morales applied his artistic sensitivity to the presentation of his dishes, often wrapping them in a false minimalism that reveals a torrent of flavors and textures. Morales is totally convinced of the need to offer seasonal cuisine, marked by the passing of the months and by the products of the sea and the land.
In March 2012, Paco Morales was given a new executive role. He was commissioned to manage the kitchen at one of the Murcia Region's most up-and-coming restaurants, El Palacete de la Seda. Paco Morales took on the task of creating a new menu blending his own particular culinary philosophy with great quality food from Murcia, including vegetables, cheeses, fish from the Mar Menor and the Mediterranean, plus meat from local livestock breeds. This collaboration lasted one year.
In April 2013 Paco finished his professional time as head chef in Hotel Ferrero and started to think in new projects for the future. He always wanted to come back to Córdoba (Andalusia), where he was born, to open a new space devoted to avant-garde cuisine.
In November 2014 Paco Morales began a new task in Madrid. Hotel Las Letras, located in Gran Vía, opened a new restaurant called Al Trapo and Paco is the one to manage its kitchen. And jjust a few weeks later he presented his new restaurant in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, called Alacena.
In March 2016 Paco Morales opens his most personal project of Andalusí Cuisine. His restaurant Noor, located in his native city of Córdoba, opens with the aim of recovering Andalusia's ARab Cuisine through the Avant Garde.
- 2011 Millesime Chef Award (ex aequo with Pepe Rodríguez Rey)
- 2011 Winner VII National Congress of Signature Cuisine in Vitoria
- 2009 La Luna de Metrópoli Award (Best Young Chef)
- 2009 Madrid Tourist Excellence Award (Best Chef of the Year)