A stylish restaurant, noted for its flamboyant Belle Epoque decor with modernistic overtones, Via Veneto is acclaimed for the excellence of its cuisine.
From boyhood Jose Muniesa realized that he wanted to become a great cook and he has pursued this ambition with a single minded determination. His perseverance has paid off, and now at the age of 32 he is head chef at the Via Veneto, the elegant and luxurious Barcelona restaurant that many gourmets argue serves the best food in Spain.
Born in the Catalan city of Gerona, Jose's family moved to the mountain village of Breda while he was still an infant. His memories of the pungent rural cooking of Catalonia in which olive oil, wild mushrooms, mountain herbs and truffles feature prominently has lingered and influenced his present refined style. At 14 he started working as an apprentice in several local bistros and at 18 decided to travel to Barcelona to extend his culinary education. For three years he held a number of jobs as a kitchen hand in several small restaurants before being taken on as an apprentice at Via Veneto.
Via Veneto, one of the most stylish restaurants in Spain with its flamboyant Belle Epoque decor and modernistic overtones, must have been an awesome sight for the shy young country lad. But he quickly adapted to his surroundings and Jose Monje, Via Veneto's owner, recalls that his talent and exceptional qualities were soon appreciated. Within a year he was included in the restaurant's team of cooks and in 1986 appointed head chef. Jose's cuisine has acquired a sophistication and delicacy that bears little resemblance to the simple country food he enjoyed as a boy. Yet he still upholds that Spanish cooking is the most varied and exiting in the world and that much of its prestige is due to the use of olive oil in cooking. Despite the praise that has been heaped on Jose's cuisine he has retained his modest, and gentle personality and avoids the limelight. He is totally absorbed by his profession and when off duty likes to peruse cookery books. His only free-time activity is jogging. Always eager to extend his knowledge, he has worked as guest chef in some of Europe's leading restaurants including Geneva's Chez Leman, Chez Pic in Valence, the Troigros in Roanne and La Pyramide in Vienne.
Clean the anchovies, remove bones, cut in filets and marinate for one hour in a vinaigrette of olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper and chives.
Make a salad with an assortment of finely sliced seasonal lettuces. Place them in a center of a plate, surround with thin slices of zucchini. Dress with vinaigrette.
Crush all the mousseline ingredients, strain through a fine strainer until a creamy paste is obtained.
Place the marinated anchovies and portions of the black olive's mousseline on top of the salad. Finally add a little of the vinaigrette used to marinate the anchovies.
Provided by Foods From Spain
This page originally published as a FoodDay article in 1997.
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This page modified January 2007
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