Elena Arzak

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Elena Arzak
Elena Arzak.jpg
Elena Arzak Espina

(1969-07-04) 4 July 1969 (age 50)
San Sebastián, Basque Country, Spain
Culinary career
Cooking styleNew Basque cuisine

Elena Arzak (born 4 July 1969) is a Spanish chef. She is joint head chef of three Michelin starred restaurant Arzak alongside her father, Juan Mari Arzak, and was named best Female Chef in the World in 2012.


She first started working at her family's restaurant, Arzak, at the age of 11, becoming the fourth generation of her family to work there.[1] She would work two hours a day during the summer holidays from school. At the time her grandmother was the head chef.[2] Her father is Juan Mari Arzak, who initially worked under his mother at the restaurant, but went on to become head chef himself.[3]

Her father sent her abroad to train at other restaurants after she attended hotel school in Lucerne in Switzerland.[4] She worked at Le Gavroche in London for six months in 1989 under Albert Roux, and alongside Michel Roux Jr. who was also training at the time.[5][6] She also trained at La Maison Troisgros, Le Louis XV under Alain Ducasse, Restaurant Pierre Gagnaire and returned to Spain when she worked at elBulli.[7]

She became joint head chef of her family's restaurant alongside her father.[5] In 2011, she appeared at The Restaurant Show in London, England. As well as conducting a cooking demonstration, she officially opened the show alongside Rachel Quigley.[8] She has ruled out opening a second restaurant for the time being, but said "I won't say never".[6]


In 2011, she was nominated for Restaurant's Veuve Clicquot award for World's Best Female Chef, but it was awarded to Anne-Sophie Pic.[9][10] However, Arzak went on to win the award in 2012.[11]

Personal life[edit]

She has two children, Nora and Mateo.[5][6] Elena can speak four languages,[12] including German.[7]


  1. ^ Eversham, Emma (10 April 2012). "Elena Arzak named World's Best Female Chef 2012 by World's 50 Best Restaurants Awards". Big Hospitality. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
  2. ^ Eversham, Emma (2 December 2011). "Pearls of Wisdom: Elena Arzak". Big Hospitality. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
  3. ^ Lucas, Ángeles (25 April 2012). "¿Cómo se evalúa al mejor cocinero del mundo?". BBC Mundo. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
  4. ^ Juan Mari & Elena Arzak Archived 24 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine Relais & Chateaux. Retrieved 21 August 2012
  5. ^ a b c Whittle, Natalie (21 April 2012). "FT Foodies: Elena Arzak". Financial Times. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
  6. ^ a b c Pigott, Sudi (27 April 2012). "Why a Basque woman's place is in the kitchen". The Independent. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
  7. ^ a b Wood, Joanna (11 September 2009). "Elena Arzak – leading lady". Caterer and Hotelkeeper. Archived from the original on 11 December 2012. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
  8. ^ Eversham, Emma (10 October 2011). "The Restaurant Show 2011 opens with chefs Elena Arzak and Sat Bains appearing centre stage". Big Hospitality. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
  9. ^ "French chef named World's Best Female Chef". The Independent. 11 April 2011. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
  10. ^ "Spanish chef Elena Arzak named World's Best Female Chef". Yahoo! News. 10 April 2012. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
  11. ^ "Best Female Chef". The World's 50 Best Restaurants. Archived from the original on 27 August 2012. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
  12. ^ Jueves, Actualizado (31 July 2008). "Elena Arzak: "En la cocina hay que tener, sobre todo, humildad"". ABC (in Spanish). Spain. Retrieved 17 August 2012.

External links[edit]