The ‘Gourmet Knights’ team is made up of our gallant chef, Alberto Corella, Helen Westwater(Queen of the sweets),Honor Witke (check out her band ‘Oh no’) and Javi de la Torre Sola, a name fit for a Knight and also a psychologist…always good to have on the team!
Between them they jointly control the battleground. Together we want to create a festival jousting ambiance. To get people involved in the food they are eating, to try new ideas and feel that they can come to a place where they are going to interact with others.
Coincidentally, Alberto first started coming to La Ola Fresca several years ago as a client and met his partner Stefania here! After living outside of Valencia for a while he came to me and we hatched a plan. Luckily for La Ola Fresca, he is a spectacularly good Chef. Here he explains his background and the philosophy behind Gourmet Knights.
1.Tell us something about your background, travels and experiences…
I started by washing dishes and as sou chef to other cooks as a way to finance my studies. I hadn’t thought of a career as a Chef (horrible hours, interminable days…) I had to be surely just a stage, something temporary, a way of subsistence. However it turned out to be as well a great way to travel. After working in places in London, Barcelona, New York, the aromas of India and the alchemy of the woks of Thailand knocked me out.
It is difficult to know when the turning point came but there arrived a moment in which I dreamt of flavours, in which you are conscious that you are sleeping with a notebook by your side, to see if you can note down in the early hours, combinations in another form, that otherwise you would never remember the next day. Sometimes, the Plan B ends up being the Plan A.
2.What is the philosophy of The Gourmet Knights?
We love the playful simplicity of bar tapas, the spontaneity of street food and the creativity, the passion and the demands of ‘haute cuisine’. Why not bring together common elements to these three scenarios.
In La Ola Fresca the atmosphere is absolutely informal, even festive, the plate-ware is sustainable, bamboo and palm leaves. Each tapas only costs 3 euros, but we do not relinquish the element of surprise, to play, to try every time to go a little higher. We seek that every person who visits us obtains the maximum that we can offer.
It is an offer at the same time both modest and self-demanding. The components of the menu rotate in a form that there are between two or three new dishes every week. Of these there are always at least two vegan options and other ones Gluten-free. Helen, who is a tremendously creative person, is the sweet ‘Knight’ and I am the savoury ‘Knight’. We have a lot of fun and at the same time, we are tremendously serious.
3. What kind of dishes can we find you serving at la Ola Fresca every Friday and Saturday evening?
Our real proposition is to propose; and not to replicate. The idea is that those who come to the nights on Fridays and Saturdays can try dishes that they don’t know, that they wouldn’t cook at home and haven’t seen in other places.
We invent and adapt to find something that is unique.
Our menu of the week is always small (6 tapas, we prefer to make few things and do them well rather than try cover more and lose focus). However we do not use the same ingredients in one menu which should cover the widest range of tastes possible; nuances, smoked food, sour, bitter, punchy notes.
With the elements of this menu, one can make up a degustación, put yourself in our hands and let yourself travel with us, or otherwise share everything at the centre of the table or simply try one or two tapas and repeat (to your desire) what you want.
It is a very flexible way of eating which can be adapted to the experience that you want.
4. What sort of wines do you recommend to go with your tapas?
We are looking forward to collaborating with Benimaclet bodega Baltasar Seguí (well worth a visit if you are in the area) to be able to offer a wider range of wines. For the moment, we serve good quality house wines Verdejo D.O. Rueda and Valencian organic red wine Aves del Paso y Lo Necesario de Fernandez Pons. We have a great selection of hand-crafted beers and every week we propose a new house cocktail and a non-alcoholic version to give more options than alcohol-free beer or fizzy drinks.
We are the Gourmet Knights and propose to rock your senses in any way we can!
The Gourmet Knights: Alta cocina en pequeño formato @ La Ola Fresca, Calle Musico Magenti 11 bajo
Fridays and Saturdays 19h to 23h
Photos by Diego Marroquin