Pablo Loureiro Rodil is lucky. On June 3, at a ceremony held at the Kursaal Convention Center, he received the Euskadi Gastronomy Award to the Best Restaurateur of 2018. This is an award granted by the Basque Government, at the proposal of the Basque Academy of Gastronomy. It recognizes the good work of this chef in front of Casa Urola, a classic restaurant from the Historical Quarter of San Sebastian, who he and his wife Begoña Arenas have been running since 2010.
On the ground of this recognition, we took the opportunity to visit him in his kitchen and chat, take stock of his career in charge of Casa Urola, and learn more about his gastronomic philosophy and his pintxos. We put a great deal in the latter, since Casa Urola is one of the few businesses that have 3 pintxos selected in our List Pintxos – The Starred Chefs List – The 99 Best.
- Pablo, what does the Euskadi Gastronomy Award meant for you?
- A huge satisfaction, but also, if feasible, a feeling of greater responsability. These awards strengthen us, but also they are committing us to to come up to the mark.
- What is your assessment of your seven years in charge of Casa Urola?
- Very positive, and very intense. If, when I opened seven years ago, somebody would have told me all the things that were going to happen us, I wouldn’t have believed him. This 7 years, they all went very fast, as well as the 30 years I’ve been involved in the catering industry.
- How has the pintxo world changed in these seven years?
- Of course, when I arrived, there were people making pintxos long before me. But, in my opinion, I was an early adopter of restaurant concepts inside the bar counter, such as seasonal pintxos. If you change the restaurant menu four times a year, why not do the same with pintxos? For instance, now we also cook pintxos with vegetables, which was something I started doing a long time ago. Every time I see more bars with seasonal pintxos. Cooking them are more labor intensive, but this way you complement your offer, people like the idea, and furthermore I don’t get bored.
- How has the Historical Quarter changed in these 7 years?
- Obviously, there has been a tourist boom, some say that it is overcrowded … we have to be prepared to meet the demands of all those visitors, but at once I think we should extend the city limits, something that should be good even for bars in the Historical Quarter, that people can go to other districts in the city. And that we will be able to transmit our philosophy to the visitors.