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Luxury Hospitality Magazine interviews Dani Garcia, Chef Patron of BiBo Shoreditch


  1. Firstly, thank you for talking with us, please can you tell us more about your career and journey into the hospitality industry?

Becoming a chef wasn’t something I aspired to as a child. In a family that valued conventional careers, my choice was unusual. Despite my parents’ and peers’ initial doubts, my passion for the culinary arts endured. Fond memories of going to markets and farms with my father sparked my interest in the restaurant industry. My journey in the culinary world began at an innovative school on the Costa del Sol, where I learned from renowned chefs. Immersion in haute cuisine and work in esteemed establishments polished my skills and defined my culinary approach. Receiving a Michelin star was a pivotal moment, marking the peak of years of relentless effort and commitment.

  1. Throughout your career, you’ve managed to blend traditional Andalusian recipes with international influences. Can you share some insights into your creative process when developing new dishes?

The creative process is hard work. I often admire people who can sit by the sea, get inspired, and create a dish just from that contemplation; I find that absolutely brilliant. But that’s not how it works for me. My process is much more consistent and structured: working, taking references, testing, modifying. Only through this structured approach does the spark eventually ignite. In the end, you have to be organized. Depending on the concept you’re working with, you think about the dish you need. For example, if you need a fresh, raw dish, you start by looking for Mediterranean ingredients, like sardines. From there, you think, how do we make this a memorable, fresh, and shareable dish? There’s no rigid structure and nothing is forced; it’s all very dynamic and always focused on the needs of each of our brands.

  1. Opening numerous restaurants worldwide, how do you ensure consistency in quality and dining experience across all your establishments, especially considering the diverse cultural contexts they operate in?

It’s all about the teams, there’s no other way. This isn’t just my restaurant with my name on it, where I’m cooking every day. We’re talking about a large company, and our biggest effort goes into finding talented team members we can trust completely.

  1. From Tragabuches to Lobito de Mar, you’ve explored various culinary concepts. How do you balance staying true to your culinary roots while adapting to evolving culinary trends and consumer preferences?

It’s something that likely comes naturally from your culture, where you were born, and what you’ve cooked all your life. When we talk about Lobito or Tragabuches, it’s quite straightforward because we hardly alter the traditional recipes; we just try to improve them technically, but they remain traditional recipes at heart. However, with BiBo, it’s different. If we want to make a ceviche, for example, we adapt it to the location and use local ingredients.

Each concept has its own idiosyncrasies. Some are more local and traditional, deeply rooted in your culture, while others are more international, where we strive to use the best local products available in each destination.

  1. Your restaurant, Dani García Restaurant, earned three Michelin stars and was widely acclaimed. Could you discuss the transition from fine dining to more informal concepts like BiBo Andalusian Brasserie & Tapas, and how you’ve managed to maintain excellence across different dining formats?

After achieving three Michelin stars, I deliberately chose to focus on opening restaurants that catered to a broader audience. My vision was to create welcoming spaces where everyone, regardless of background or appearance, could feel at ease. Many are intimidated by fine dining, believing it demands a specific demeanor and dress code. At places like BiBo, I aim to dispel these notions, ensuring guests feel relaxed and comfortable. We achieve this ambiance through careful selection of furniture, lighting, music, and even scents.

  1. “Hacer de Comer” showcased your culinary expertise on television. How has media exposure influenced your approach to cooking and restaurant management?

It was an important year for us, and we used the show to highlight our new phase and our fresh approach for the future. It was the year we received the third Michelin star, and we didn’t want people to associate us solely with fine dining. We wanted to broaden the perception beyond our work with liquid nitrogen to a more global and even traditional cuisine. This was one of the reasons I agreed to do the Spanish Television program. I enjoyed it immensely and it’s an experience I’d like to repeat when the company is more established and solid. Moving forward, my focus remains on communicating everything we do and our philosophy of bringing cuisine closer to people.

  1. With the opening of BiBo in Doha and other international locations, how do you tailor your cuisine to suit local palates while maintaining the essence of Andalusian gastronomy?

Each menu is created specifically for its location. When you arrive in a different country, you have to be flexible and adapt. This even applies within the same country, as Madrid is nothing like Marbella. We tailor everything we do to the location, considering the audience, local ingredients, and trends.

People in Qatar, for instance, have different eating habits than those in other parts of the world. There, we have to meet their needs and avoid cooking with alcohol. In Leña Dubai, we don’t serve pork. Each new opening is approached differently, depending on the place, but always keeping the essence of each concept.

  1. Smoked Room introduced a unique concept focused on smoke and embers, earning two Michelin stars within six months. What inspired this concept, and how do you keep pushing culinary boundaries?

For us, smoke was the logical connecting thread. Smoked Room was born from Leña and literally within it, so it made perfect sense for Smoked Room to follow the culinary legacy and cooking style of Leña, rooted in grilling but with a much closer connection to haute cuisine. It was something new for us, and it’s about gradually evolving and improving the brand. I’m not sure how far it will go or if we will revolutionize it even further, but our goal is to keep progressing and evolving our cuisine to meet the needs of our audience.

  1. The expansion of your restaurant group has been remarkable, with openings in diverse locations such as Ibiza, New York, and Dubai. What factors do you consider when selecting new locations, and how do you ensure each venue reflects the essence of Dani García Group?

We receive numerous offers for locations in different parts of the world every week, and everything is evaluated with the company’s goals in mind.

Currently, we are focusing on expanding Leña and Smoked Room to cities like London, New York, and Miami, where construction is already underway. We also receive various offers that depend mainly on the city, the context, and the partners involved. For example, we have a proposal in Mallorca that we love because we admire and respect the property, a family-run business, and it’s managed by Mandarin Oriental in a magical setting. How could we say no to an opportunity like that?

  1. Looking ahead, what are your goals for the future of Dani García Group, both in terms of culinary innovation and global expansion?

Our goal is to launch the Leña brand globally. As mentioned, the next steps include Miami, where the project is already underway, and we’re actively searching for locations in London and New York. We will also be opening soon in Barcelona, and we are eager to bring the brand to places like Ibiza and Morocco. There are many locations we’d love to expand to, and we are committed to continued growth.