Spain to Honor D.C. Area's Celebrity Chef Jose Andres

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), December 1, 2010 | Go to article overview

Spain to Honor D.C. Area's Celebrity Chef Jose Andres


Byline: Brett Zongker Associated Press

Spain is awarding one of its highest culture honors to a chef who made his name with restaurants in the United States.

The Spanish cabinet agreed last week to award U.S. restaurateur Jose Andres the Order of Arts and Letters medallion, according to Spain's Embassy in Washington. It's the first time the prize, created in 2008, has gone to a chef. Andres, 41, joins the ranks of top artists, linguists and architects recognized for their contributions to the country.

Andres, who grew up near Barcelona, has built a small food empire in Washington and its Maryland and Virginia suburbs that is extending to Los Angeles and Las Vegas. His eatery Jaleo, created in 1993, is credited with popularizing small dishes, known as Spanish tapas, in the United States. His more recent restaurants explore other cultures as well.

Andres said chefs are more popular than ever, thanks to TV. He hosts the PBS series "Made in Spain" and beat Bobby Flay on TV's "Iron Chef."

On Spanish television he hosts "Vamos a Cocinar," which airs across Latin America.

"Still, we've never been really part of the cultural world," such as art and literature, Andres said. "I don't even see this as an award to myself but as (recognition) our culinary world can contribute to the culture of the world."

Spain also awarded the medal to New York City psychiatrist Luis R. Marcos for his study of bilingual mentally ill people and to journalist and writer Barbara Probst Solomon at a ceremony in New York on Nov. …

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