Many in Dani Garcia’s shoes will probably still be uncorking the champagne bottles after he clinched his dream of attaining 3 Michelin stars for his restaurant in Marbella, Spain. But 22 days after achieving his dream the Spain chef has shocked the gastronomy world by announcing he will close the restaurant on 21 October, eleven months after he was awarded 3 stars by the tyre company.
“These days have been deeply beautiful but we will never reach this point again. We will never live something like this again,” he told his team when he announced to them he would be closing the restaurant and turning it into a hamburger joint.
“When you reach this point, it is time to think carefully about what you want to do next and what’s to come. It has taken us 20 years to get to this point and we’ve gone through a lot of pain and suffering. But it will never happen again even if we create another 3 Michelin star restaurant,” he said. “It is an experience that is impossible to live again. It is an experience that we will always treasure in our hearts and memories,” he told them.
With tears in his eyes and his team’s eyes he told them that he had a harsh conversation with his mother the previous night. “I tried to explain to her what I wanted to do. She told me don’t you ever talk to me again because I was wrong. She told me I was crazy. And last night she sent me a very harsh Whatsapp. “She asked me who had fooled me, why was I doing this when I have no need for this. I have not given her an answer yet because the answer will be when we have succeeded in what I want to do. Then I can tell her that my heart fooled me and I followed it,” the Spanish chef said.
Garcia is not the first chef to close a three Michelin star restaurant at the pinnacle of success. In Belgium, chef Gert de Mangeleer and his business partner Joachim Boudens have decided to close their flagship 3 star restaurant Hertog Jan to focus on new projects.
And last year, Sebastian Bras decided to return back the 3 Michelin stars saying he did not want his restaurant in France to be listed in the guide.
Garcia said he did not want Michelin to take back the 3 stars but he will close the restaurant on 21 October and reopen it as a steak house which specialises in hamburgers. He believes there is a need to improve the quality of medium range level of the sector. Given his expansion plans he said it would not have been honest to keep his high end restaurant without him being present on a daily basis.