1 Million Layers Sold

By Hip Torres

By

Hip Torres
30-layer patatas bravas at Ataula
30-layer patatas bravas at Ataula

Before opening Barcelona-style tapas spot Ataula in 2013, Chef José Chesa knew he wanted patatas bravas on his menu—only less familiar and modernized. “I grew up eating bravas my whole life. It’s one of my favorite tapas,” says Chesa, who was born and raised in Barcelona.
 
After three months of experimentation, he nailed the formula, packing 30 thin layers of potato into a crisp, cloud-like bravas. Chesa recommends russet potatoes for their high starch to low moisture ratio, which makes them both fluffy and crunchy. Russet’s size allows Chesa the freedom to cut and shape the potato to achieve a shape as close to a ½-inch cube as possible. His team uses the potato scraps to make tortilla de patatas for family meal.

Since debuting on Ataula’s menu, Chesa estimates that his team has sold nearly 1 million slices of potato at a rate of 35 to 40 orders a night. That’s a lot of potatoes—and labor. One cook, James Pici, comes in at 8 am each morning to begin the ritual (three to four hours for every 25 orders). And at the end of the night, every order has been sold, and his prep work decimated, devoured, and savored.

Get the recipe for José Chesa's 30-layer bravas, brava sauce 2.0, and lacto aioli

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