Two years after opening his first restaurant, Azurmendi, set in the beautiful countryside only 10 minutes from Bilbao, Eneko Atxa (Amorebieta, 1977) earned his first Michelin star. His second came three years later in 2010, and his third in 2012, making Azurmendi the first three-Michelin-star restaurant in Bizkaia. Eneko Atxa’s success is rooted in his unique combination of vanguard and tradition, always with his own personal signature. In 2014 Azurmendi was rated seventh in a ranking of the world’s 100 best restaurants by the magazine Elite Traveller, and was awarded the world's most sustainable restaurant. Eneko himself has also received a number of awards. Moreover, this young chef and researcher has developed pioneer cooking techniques using ultrasound for his ‘three-dimensional essences’ and ‘concentrated soups’, and has created Naturan, a prototype for a generator of natural aromas from natural essences found in the environment. He also takes part in a number of R&D projects, ensuring future success in his innovative culinary career.

Eneko Atxa
I'm new to Euskadi. What's the first thing I should visit?

Urdaibai and, of course, Bilbao.

The best Basque dish is...

Every season offers something new. Let the locals make suggestions.

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

I love gildas.

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

I'm very keen on Mikel Urdangarin, but my favourite songs are Udazken Koloretan by Benito Lertxundi and Elektrizitatea by Zea Mays.

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

The Fine Arts Museum in Bilbao.

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

There's no question about it, San Juan de Gaztelugatxe.

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

There are lots of things to do with children in Euskadi – skating, going to the mountains or the beach. And a visit to the aquarium in Getxo or Donostia will impress them.

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

Let the locals point you in the right direction. Get a good feeling for our culture, by taking part in traditional activities or more modern events.

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

The food, the landscape, the customs, the smells...

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

The people, places and food.

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

Our rich and varied local cuisine.

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

Euskadi is impressive, all year long. There is always a wealth of things to see.

What is your favourite fiesta or event in Euskadi?

The Bertsolari competition held every four years.