Chef Quique Dacosta of Quique Dacosta - Biography

Dénia, Spain

September 2015

Quique Dacosta was born in 1972, in Jarandilla de la Vera, Extremadura. At 14, he was just a kid working in a pizzeria with a growing penchant for food. Reading cookbooks, mostly French, helped stoke his interest in cuisine. By 18, Dacosta was visiting some of Spain’s best restaurants, unwittingly treading the ground that would become his professional home. Eventually, he began working in the restaurant that would later become his own, El Poblet in Denia (today known as Quique Dacosta Restaurante). There, on the southeastern coast of Spain, near Valencia, he cooked regional cuisine that began to evolve into something more local and maritime. As Dacosta came to the fore of the restaurant, its outlook changed from casual-local to hyper, poetically local, forging a new era for Valencian cuisine in the late 80s, early 90s. He officially took over the restaurant in 1999 and changed its name in 2008.

In form and content, Dacosta’s progressive food emphasizes nature, and has been called a kind of “plant cuisine” that reflects the fleeting flora and fauna of his environment. But the perspective that guides it is global, modern, and comprehensive. No surprise, it’s garnered Dacosta (man and restaurant) years of recognition, from a 2004 “Chef of the Year” award from Lo Mejor de la Gastronomía to the Cándido Foundation’s Creativity Prize for Dacosta’s techno-poetic culinary style, regular placement on San Pellegrino's “50 Best” list, and a 2009 induction into the Cookbook Hall of Fame by the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards (essentially the “Oscars” of cookbooks) for his third, eponymous, cookbook. He earned a third Michelin star in 2012 and returns for the second time to the StarChefs International Chefs Congress Main Stage.