Elena Arzak (San Sebastián, 1969) was born and raised among pots and pans to a family whose long-standing culinary tradition dates back to her great-grandparents. Elena’s passion for cooking runs through her veins. After studying at some of the finest cooking schools and restaurants around the world, including Ferrán Adriá’s El Bulli, Elena Arzak is now back at the prestigious family restaurant, Arzak, where alongside her father, Juan Mari, heads the innovative team that has made the restaurant an international gold standard. Her work has garnered a number of awards, most notably the 2010 Eckart Witzigmann International Award and the Veuve Clicquot World's Best Female Chef 2012.

Elena Arzak
I'm new to Euskadi. What's the first thing I should visit?

Donostia-San Sebastián

The best Basque dish is...

Hate in green sauce with clams, and marmitako.

What's your favourite pintxo? Maybe even one that you make at home?

The gilda and the crab tartlet at the Ganbara.

Of the wide variety of Basque music, what is your favourite song and/or singer?

Mikel Laboa, and the Orfeón Donostiarra.

What places in the world of art (churches, museums, sculpture…) should I be sure and see if I visit Euskadi?

The Sanctuary of Arantzazu, the Kursaal and the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao.

Name a place in Euskadi that is very special for you, a place you go to just wander and unwind.

Chillida’s Wind Comb.

If I go with children, where should I take them and what sorts of activities could I do with them?

To the Aquarium and the Science Museum in San Sebastián.

What advice would you give to somebody visiting Euskadi for the first time?

Dive headfirst into all of the culinary possibilities there are.

What do you miss the most when you are far from home?

The sea.

The most beautiful thing in the Basque Country to you is...

The combination of mountains and sea.

When friends come to visit from out of town, what do you always make sure and show them?

The Bretxa and San Martín markets.

Is Euskadi better to visit in spring, autumn, winter or summer?

In autumn; there’s a special light.

What is your favourite fiesta or event in Euskadi?

The night before the feast day of San Sebastián.