Paulo Airaudo: «Why should we reinvent ourselves when we will go back to how we were?»

The Italian-Argentinian chef at Identità on the road: «I'm not changing my business model for a tragic phase, which will end, just the way it started. For now, my priority is surviving»

Paulo Airaudo in the video on Identità Golose o

Paulo Airaudo in the video on Identità Golose on the road. The online platform will be active until the end of March 2021, for info and registrations, click here

It's worth listening to the 17 minutes of the video with Paulo Airaudo at Identità Golose on the road. The Italian-Argentinian chef – one Michelin star in San Sebastian (Amelia ), two in London (Da Terra, in Bethnal Green) and three more restaurants in the Basque Country and in Hong Kong – gathers his thoughts after a difficult year. And makes some interesting points.

«For us, the pandemic came at the same time when we moved Amelia [to the new location, hotel Villa Favorita, overlooking the famous Bay of La Concha]. We were meant to open in February 2020, but the pandemic postponed the opening by one month. Then we had to close for three and a half months. At the end of June we opened with excellent results. Then again we closed and there were restrictive measures. The same happened with our other two restaurants in the Basque Country: trattoria Da Filippo and 1985 Cantina Argentina».

Paulo Airaudo is chef at Amelia in San Sebastian (one Michelin star) and at Terra in London (two stars)

Paulo Airaudo is chef at Amelia in San Sebastian (one Michelin star) and at Terra in London (two stars)

Here comes the main point made by Airaudo during his lesson: «We tried to offer some delivery and take away service, with stuffed focaccias, pizza and the public reacted well. But this was never a question of reinventing ourselves. Reinventing ourselves was never an option. It's a word I don't like. If anything, it was a matter of survival. But it's important to stress that our business models haven't changed overall and nor will they change. I don't think, and I've never thought, of turning my business upside down because of a phase that will end just like it started. What I used to do is what I do now and what I will do in the future».

Which means that: «At Da Filippo we will return to offer a classic trattoria, based on homemade pasta, with our special touch, our soul. We will keep the same philosophy at Amelia too, to which moving did good. In fact we've increased the standards further, and reached a difficult balance between menu – small, personal -, and place – intimate, cosy. We've created a lively cuisine, that changes monthly. With a special atmosphere, what with location, on the beach, and materials, which we commissioned from an artisan in Siena. Clients had their eyes sparkling, and we've very proud of this».

The beach of La Concha, the setting of the new Amelia

The beach of La Concha, the setting of the new Amelia

There's one word on which, the chef from Cordoba (with parents from Piedmont) thought a lot during this forced break: “sustainability”. «Not only in terms of product, but most of all in terms of employees and guests. What will I offer to those who will travel for thousands of kilometres to dine at our restaurant? We've always worked with small producers and small artisans, and we will continue to give them a voice. We will put our clients in an even closer contact with the most honest raw materials of our region. We will use our restaurant as a showcase for them and their best products. This is our objective, our final goal».

Will Airaudo change attitude, once covid will be behind us? «Of course, because this situation has taught us the fragility of our business, and even more so, of our being. We will need to be more entrepreneurial, more human, more intelligent. We must go on. If we fall, we must rise. There's no other option. Full steam ahead».

Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso 

IG2020: on the road

Gabriele Zanatta


Gabriele Zanatta

born in Milan, 1973, freelance journalist, coordinator of Identità Golose World restaurant guidebook since 2007, he is a contributor for several magazines and teaches History of gastronomy and Culinary global trends into universities and institutes. 
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