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Iker Erauzkin’s Uma – “Forked” in Barcelona

By: Reading Time: 4 Minutes

For guests at Uma in Barcelona, a very special gastronomic experience awaits. You see, chef Iker Erauzkin doesn’t simply cook: his whole intention is to transform ingredients into wonderful, sensory experiences. KTCHNrebel spoke to the Basque chef about signature dishes, vegetables from his own garden and future plans.

His passion is cooking. “I’ve always wanted to be a chef since I discovered the magical ability to turn ingredients into wonderful sensory experiences,” says Iker Erauzkin. “I am fascinated by the alchemy of processes, flavors and tastes as a means of transportation, as well as memories that allow us to travel back in time, not to mention the chance to continually surprise ourselves by discovering new flavors.”


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Ein Beitrag geteilt von Espacio UMA (@espaciouma)

It is precisely this fascination that Iker Erauzkin embodies in a revolutionary gastronomic concept, the Uma restaurant in the center of Barcelona, which he has been running together with his wife Anna Yébenes since 2014. In the meantime, the Basque chef has gained over 25 years of experience in the restaurant industry, has written numerous books and cookbooks in addition to running restaurants. He also advises restaurants, companies and brands in the foodservice industry on his understanding of modern, authentic gastronomy where the guest plays the main role.

Our goal is to make people feel at home – so comfortable and relaxed that they can enjoy the experience completely.Iker Erauzkin

UMA – a restaurant with four tables and no menu

Uma is a special place – with only enough room for 16 guests at four tables. There is also a separate chefs table in the kitchen. The restaurant makes an eye-catching impression with its cobalt-blue walls and white columns. You can look into the open-plan kitchen from any table. In Swahili, the name Uma means “fork”. The restaurant also only offers a tasting menu with 12 different courses and two desserts, depending on the season. “They always say no food is better than what is cooked at home,” stresses the Basque, who himself learned in Paris. And this is exactly the gastronomic experience the chef wants to create for his guests. Updated weekly, the menu consists mainly of carefully selected vegetables, fish and seafood. It all depends on what premium ingredients the suppliers and producers have to offer.

Interior view pf the restaurant Uma by Iker Erauzkin

Image: Uma

Vegetables as a challenge

The chef finds it increasingly appealing to cook with vegetables. “It’s a new challenge – something we’re always seeking in the kitchen,” says Erauzkin. “I don’t know exactly where my inspiration comes from. Sometimes we want to tell a story with the food, sometimes we want to highlight an ingredient.” On occasion, he also looks for unexpected combinations or simply cooks a dish that he would like to savor. For example, Erauzkin experiments with peas. “I’m all about maximizing the potential of peas – including the flower bud, the pea skin and the pod itself, all cooked with a creamy base.” The chef likes to use flowers and buds on his plates, “because they have a very subtle and delicate nuance to them.”

Signature dishes by Iker Erauzkin

Classics that he regularly includes in his seasonal surprise menu include Salsa Xo, a vegetable anticucho or the “Soup of Love,” which was the first dish he created for his wife Anna. Inspired by a tomato-yum soup, it contains poached onions, prawns, gochujang, tapioca cooked in coconut milk, almond blossom sprouts, lime, coriander, citronella and coriander sprouts. Another signature dish is also “Duck Migration”: a low-temperature egg on porcini cream, topped with cotton candy and grated cold foie gras.


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An appetizer classic: the truffled Brie cheese “Mochi”, covered with two slices of truffle. “They all tell the story of Uma and our own journey through this world,” the culinary artist points out. Intelligent cooking systems are indispensable in his restaurant kitchen. “We use intelligent cooking systems to cook at low temperatures, ferment or emulsify,” says Erauzkin. “I prefer state-of-the-art technologies that allow me to adjust the cooking time to my expectations and needs.”

Home garden ingredients for the restaurant kitchen

The deep connection to nature and passion that defines the star chef is also reflected in the fact that Erauzkin has recently started growing vegetables for his restaurant Uma in his own small garden in Olesa de Bonesvalls. “It’s very important for me to know and understand the origin of every ingredient we use in the kitchen,” says the boss. His garden allows him to learn about the process of growing vegetables, including agricultural work, which unfortunately is still not widely valued: “But above all, the immediacy of the products I grow. Right now, we are at the very beginning. We have planted colorful cauliflower, peas, carrots, Calçots, strawberries, tomatoes, peppers and eggplants. We also harvest some fruit and want to grow our own edible flowers.” There are ten fruit trees in the garden with cherries, oranges, lemons, medlars, pears and persimmons.


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Ein Beitrag geteilt von Espacio UMA (@espaciouma)

Relax and enjoy

Erauzkin is motivated by the idea of living in a relaxed world and being able to enjoy time. “I am motivated to show my children a sensible way of living,” says the chef. His goal is “to continue cooking for my guests as long as I have the strength to cook outside the industry. I want to offer a space where time is the protagonist and you can take a break from life and simply enjoy some good cuisine,” he states.

Hit the mountains with UMA

Iker Erauzkin and Anna Yébenes have designed the restaurant in such a way that family life is well-balanced with professional life. “Although we are committed to our guests, we have arranged our opening hours and closing days in such a way that valuable time is reserved for family life,” says the chef. They are closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays. “To this day, I still enjoy both my responsibility and the time I spend with my family. It’s important to take care of both,” says Erauzkin.


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Ein Beitrag geteilt von Espacio UMA (@espaciouma)

The creative chef also has plans for the future. “Cooking has never been a journey to a destination, but rather a way to enjoy each step of life. I would like to move Uma to the mountains. Where I live now, in a natural environment and away from the big city,” Erauzkin ponders. He also wants to spend more time on private things: “[I want to] see my children grow up, continue learning in the kitchen, spend time with my wife,” the Basque native stresses. “This also includes traveling, discovering other cuisines and other cultures. Everything that makes me the chef I am. Until my final days, I think there are still many things I would like to do.”


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