The first memories of Joseba Arguiñano (Zarautz, 37 years old) in front of a table refer to large pans of broken eggs. “My mother prepared them, who worked hard and worked hard,” says the middle child of a family of seven children. Luisi Ameztoy and Karlos Arguiñano, mother and father, shaped one of the most distinguished and popular clans in the area in the Zarautz of the eighties and later nineties. Also from Spain. She was a fishmonger —continuing the business that her mother had started— and the woman who was in charge of the accounts at the recently opened restaurant of her husband, an Arguiñano who was quickly going to stand out in the universe of New Basque Cuisine . Later would come television success thanks to the legendary The menu of each daybroadcast on Spanish Television between 1992 and 2004. “Of course I was aware of my father’s fame, but in the family we have always seen this job as a trade,” explains Joseba, the most media-produced of all the brothers and the only one who He has continued the tradition of making programs on television.
Raised among many of the recipe books that his own father published over the years, it is now when he takes advantage of his pull on Basque television to edit Cooking with Joseba Arguiñano (Planet, 2022). “This book includes the recipes that have become the mainstay of my trade. The dishes, breads and desserts that I propose respond to my way of seeing good cooking and confectionery”, comments the presenter of stories in bites and sukalerrianboth on ETB, son of a winner of the National Television Award, in 2021.
The two programs allow you to enjoy a less humorous Arguiñano and much more dedicated to the noble art of the interview. “In the two years that we have been here, I have invited around 500 people, with whom I talk about their work and prepare recipes. I also visit many towns in the Basque Country”, he highlights from an activity that has allowed him to treat bertsolarispelotaris and cooks, among many others.
The book unravels a very simple menu but tasty to prepare. “I admit that I am a joy. I love to eat the usual dishes, the most homemade and traditional cuisine, made up of top quality food and in which there is also room to innovate without losing the essence”, she highlights. Among the specialties that can be found there is a lot of snacking: Calzone chicken and cheese, carpaccio tuna, potatoes seasoned with pickles, aubergine pâté, salmon chocolates. Without forgetting the dishes of a lifetime, such as the peppers stuffed with hake and clams in green sauce, the pork tenderloin with pineapple, the sea bass with green pepper with creamy chives or the Risotto cuttlefish and cheese with alioli. Always with a point of fantasy and innovation, without being excessive.
However, the tone of his voice modulates when any preparation related to bread and sweets is mentioned. “Everything changed when, as a teenager, they sent me to the confectionery party. There was my aunt, Eva. She was like my second mother. She taught me to be very finicky with food. When she left the Arguiñano restaurant, I picked up the baton. She was 23 years old and really wanted to create my own universe ”, reveals an Arguiñano who, on leaving that space, launched into a tiny workshop, JA (his initials). “It was located on Calle Mayor in Zarautz. There he had a small chocolate maker. I drove it and took care of everything, ”he recalls. Today, nine years later, the business is going from strength to strength, with two points of sale in San Sebastián and 18 people in charge.
“I am a chef, pastry chef and baker. I studied professional cooking at the Aiala school run by Karlos Arguiñano; I trained in pastry shops like Escribà, in Barcelona, and the French Thierry Bamas; I learned advanced baking in Switzerland; I did an internship at Pedro Subijana’s Akelarre restaurant in San Sebastián ”, she succinctly lists his career in the prologue.
And how is working with the father? “He has always been very natural and has highlighted the good things. He has never given me lessons or told me what to do. You have to stumble yourself”, he agrees. An Arguiñano who has not only been restless in front of the stove or experimenting with sourdough: “My great passion has been surfing. Now I have much less time, although I manage to escape on weekends with my friends. Anyway, with my board I have traveled to Australia, South Africa, Indonesia or Peru ”, he reveals.
Some trips that have also helped make his cuisine much richer and more imaginative. “In Central America I have found wonderful fruits, in Asia I have discovered some types of sweets that are unthinkable here, and the same thing happens with the different breads and pastas of each continent. The world of ferments, grinding and kneading fascinates me. I am a great panarra”, he comments and then recites some of the recipes included in the chapter Caught red handedwhich contains homemade, whole wheat, herringbone bread or with turmeric and poppy.
Arguiñano, in any case, does not lose sight of the wonderful ecosystem that surrounds him. “The Basque Country is unique and special, despite how small it is”, he exclaims. “You go to Bilbao, Carranza, Rioja Alavesa or Iparralde and you have a monumental variety of vegetables and legumes. We have everything, from chop tastings —where the Friesian breed always wins— to a sea that produces some of the best fish”, he concludes proudly, as if he were a great ambassador of Basque gastronomy. Genes are not missing.