Restaurant : Echaurren
Address : Calle del Padre José García, 19, 26280 Ezcaray, La Rioja, Spain
Website : http://www.echaurren.com
Born in 1968 to a family that runs a small hotel and restaurant called Echaurren in the town of Ezcaray, La Rioja, Francis Paniego got involved in the kitchen at a tender age. His mother, Marisa Sánchez, a recipient of National Gastronomy Prize in 1987, and his older brother worked together at the family business.
As Francis admired his older brother Luis, who was expected to carry on the culinary dynasty, he entered Escuela de Hostelería y Turismo de Madrid to be a restaurateur, and at the same time, follow his older brother’s footsteps. When Luis died in a tragic car accident, Francis left school and returned home to help out in the family business. In 1988, Francis’ family decided to refurbish Echaurren, so he took advantage of that time to go back to school and finish his studies. After school, he spent internships at Arzak, Akelarre, and Zalacain, and visited elBuilli under Ferran Adrià, which gave him a much wider grasp of gastronomy.
Determined to find his own way of doing things, Francis made creative and groundbreaking cuisine at Echaurren’s annex called Echaurren el Portal. In 2005, his effort to link up tradition with avant-garde cuisine earned him his first Michelin star. The same year, he wrote a book entitled Echaurren, el sabor de la memoria (Echaurren, the Taste of Memories), and was tasked to oversee the restaurant at the Hotel Marqués de Riscal which earned its Michelin six years later.
In 2011, together with his wife, Luisa, the 1999 Bidasoa Awardee for best young chef under 30, Francis opened a gastrobar called Tondeluna in Logroño, where customers enjoy traditional tapas from Echaurren and avant-garde miniature cuisine from El Portal de Echaurren.
Francis received several recognitions, including La Rioja Culinary Champion, honorable mention at the National Gastronomy Awards, Chef Millesime, and National Gastronomy Award – 2012 Best Chef by the Spanish Royal Academy of Gastronomy. In 2013, Francis received his second Michelin star for Echaurren el Portal. He also received three suns from the Repsol Guide for Echaurren. Apart from these, Francis is also a member of a select group of chefs who established Spain as a Mecca for world gastronomy.
2 Michelin stars
3 Repsol suns