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Dining with a James Beard Award Winning Chef

Chef Jose Garces has opened Ortzi, a Basque country culinary haven in the LUMA Hotel

Winner of the James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic, Chef Jose Garces has finally opened his newly inspired restaurant, Ortzi, located in the LUMA Hotel in the heart of New York City.

The menu is unique in comparison to a classic Spanish eatery, with an updated take on the Basque style of country cooking–a lesser-known type of cuisine that originated from the northern part of Spain. Techniques in Garces’s kitchen hold true to traditional styles of cooking that include cooking in cazuelas (hand made clay pots) and preparing meats and fish on heated coals.

When asked about what inspired Garces to become a chef, he notes his cultural roots. “I think that’s what shaped me today as a chef, that Latin culture at home and stepping outside and being exposed to other ethnic cultures,” he says. Spending a great portion of his culinary endeavors in northern Spain, Chef Garces incorporates the traditions of this area into key dishes on his menu by utilizing the cazuelas, as well as meats and fish that have been prepared a la planxa (grilled on a metal plate).


“It was a really inspirational moment for me,” Garces explains, “the passion of Spanish cooking.” Top favorites on Ortzi’s menu are sure to include the zarzuela, a seafood stew consisting of red prawns, mussels, calamari, fideos and Marcona almonds. Another must-try includes the habas, a fava bean salad which includes feta, meyer lemon, Gordal Olives and smoked egg yolk. These traditional classics will definitely leave customers wanting a taste for more.

Ortzi also hosts a unique selection of beverages from the Basque region, which include aged Sherry, Sidra (cider) and the oldest type of white wine, Txakoli. Ortzi also offers traditional Spanish beers ranging from draft Mahou lager to bottled Sesma Brewing.

All images: Daniel Krieger