Travel Geeks online: deconstructing Spanish food — 19 May 2020

Join us as we take our Travel Geeks panel discussions online for the first time ever.

By National Geographic Traveller (UK)
Published 5 May 2020, 12:08 BST
Our first virtual event will dive into the world of Spanish food

Our first virtual event will dive into the world of Spanish food

Photograph by Getty Images

***This event has already taken place. Discover more events by National Geographic Traveller***

Join us for our first online National Geographic Traveller Travel Geeks, where we’ll be deconstructing Spanish cuisine, finding out about the contemporary chefs who have established Spain’s gourmet reputation, exploring regional specialities and discussing its influences on British food culture.

The country may be united in its love for garlic and olive oil, but Spanish cuisine is defined by regional variations, from Valencian paella and Galician seafood to roasted meats in Castile y León and tapas washed down with cold drinks in Andalucia. In recent years, a raft of creative and exciting chefs have brought Spanish ingredients and ideas to the forefront of modern cooking, from molecular gastronomist Ferran Adrià, with his theatrical presentations at the legendary El Bulli restaurant, to Andoni Luis Aduriz, known for his technologically innovative creations and culinary risks.  

And, while Spanish food has itself been influenced by various cultures and events over the centuries (including by the Phoenicians, the Moors and the discovery of the New World), it’s also, in turn, had a huge influence on the British food scene. There are myriad chefs making sure Spain is among our favourite culinary destinations, including: Eneko Atxa, with his Basque restaurant Eneko in London’s West End; José Pizarro, with his collection of London restaurants, tapas bar and Surrey gastropub; and David Muñoz, with his Mayfair-based Spanish/Asian fusion restaurant StreetXO (the more casual outpost of Madrid’s three-Michelin-starred DiverXO).

Although travel is currently halted, there are plenty of ways to stay inspired at home, such as cooking dishes from favourite destinations, learning about new cuisines and planning future gastronomic adventures. This is the perfect time to set off on a culinary exploration of the world — and Spain’s gourmet offerings make an ideal starting point.

Travel Geeks is just an hour long and offers you the chance to hear from our experts and join in the lively debate.


José Pizarro, chef and author

José is a Spanish chef and author. He has three restaurants in London, José Tapas Bar, Pizarro Bermondsey and José Pizarro Broadgate. In 2019, José opened his fourth restaurant, The Swan Inn, in Surrey. José has written five critically acclaimed Spanish cookbooks; his latest book Andalusia was published in 2019. In 2014, José was voted one of the ‘100 españoles’, an award that showcases the top 100 Spaniards around the world.

Lauren Aloise, co-founder and CEO of Devour Tours

Lauren’s award-winning food tour company, Devour Tours, began in Spain. With a background in hospitality and tourism management, a passion for food and culture, and a strong belief that tourism can be sustainable, Lauren started leading tours herself in Madrid in 2012. She is now facing the current challenges by remaining innovative and offering a unique variety of online experiences and virtual cooking classes. When not busy with work she’s in the kitchen, sharing recipes at, and taking care of her eight-month-old twins.

Neil Davey, food writer

Neil is a food and travel writer with fond memories of being able to board a plane. Back in those heady days before early 2020, when travel was still possible, Neil spent a lot of time in Spain, mainly to eat — and, frankly, barely managed to scratch the surface of the country's vast food culture, so he remains an enthusiastic student rather than an expert. He will, however, happily argue that Ibérico ham is the single greatest foodstuff in the world. 

Annie Manson, owner of Annie B’s Spanish Kitchen

Born and raised on a farm in Scotland, Annie headed to Cadiz, in Andalucia, in 2005 after 20 years of running her own catering company in London. She’s passionate about the food and wine of Andalucia and, in 2013, was honoured by her village of Vejer de la Frontera as a ‘Vejeriaga de Adopcion’, in recognition of the attention she has brought to local gastronomy. Vejer de la Frontera is the base for Annie B’s Spanish Kitchen, which runs culinary holidays in Spain, Scotland and Morocco.

This edition of Travel Geeks will be moderated by Jo Fletcher-Cross, contributing editor, National Geographic Traveller (UK). Jo loves to cook Spanish food and is particularly enthusiastic about Spanish wine. She also loves art, theatre, the Eurovision Song Contest, comedy and Dolly Parton. 


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