facefoodmag ENmallorca

Javier Hoebeeck - Fusion19. Produce, memories and influences

Javier Hoebeeck - Fusion19. Produce, memories and influences

Javier Hoebeeck © ffmag

Javier Hoebeeck belongs to a generation of chefs who ventured abroad to train in top kitchens, so that they could get the best out of Mallorcan food. And thanks to his experiences far from his homeland, today Fusion19 serves creative dishes that combine the personal and local with knowledge gained during his time overseas. At Fusion19, diners will enjoy a menu that plays tribute to Mallorcan tradition and culture while revealing Mediterranean, Asian and Latin American influences, and uses local produce as the solid basis for the discourse. It’s a sustainable project that is committed to its local environment, supplying the restaurant with produce from its own kitchen garden that will impress even the most discerning customers.

 

In what way did the Michelin star change your life?
To be honest, it’s changed a lot for me. It’s a major change, from nought to a hundred in terms of commitment, respect for what we’re doing and trying to improve each day so that everything makes more sense. 

How would you define the food at Fusion19?
Our food is based on our past influences and also on our training. I’m Belgian with a Mallorcan mother, and Basque and Catalan grandparents. I’m a real mixture, and that’s where the restaurant’s name comes from, perhaps the word is a bit hackneyed but, for me, it makes perfect sense because of who I am. And, as well as who I am, it makes sense because of my training and my experiences working in places like the north of Spain, Germany, Japan... 

What’s the menu like?
Our menu is divided into five stages and fourteen courses. There are 32 bites and it lasts two and a half hours. I want customers who come to Fusion19 to try lots of things and have an overall experience, from the moment they sit down until they leave. They’ll try typical dishes from Mallorca, and Spain, and then travel to Asia, Latin America, then go back to Mallorca...

gastronomic proposal Fusion19. Mallorca

Gastronomic proposal © Fusion19

Of all the restaurants you’ve worked at, which chef shaped you the most?
The chef that shaped me the most was Eneko Atxa at Azurmendi: the first restaurant I worked at after completing my studies. Even now, I try to replicate that work system: the atmosphere there, how people worked so happily, the good vibes, the order... I’m trying to manage my team the same way. His leadership made a big impression on me. 

Your cooking fuses Mallorcan and Asian food with a Latin America twist. What do you look for in Mallorcan produce?
When we started out, we did a lot of fusion cooking. But we lacked an identifying trait, which was us being Mallorcan. And we began to introduce local produce. Then, we started to bring back Mallorcan recipes and traditions and I think that’s what gave our menu meaning. We want to use as much produce from Mallorca and the Albufera area as we can.

And I’m really proud of being from Mallorca and its food revolution

The Albufera area now has two Michelin stars (Maca de Castro and Fusion19). How have you been received?
Really well. I think it’s amazing for the area. Maca is someone that I worship. She won her first Michelin star when I started out in cooking. I remember coming back to Mallorca after being abroad, going to eat at her restaurant... And now we’re in this together, it seems incredible to me. It gives added value to the whole north area, which sometimes feels too touristy. And we want to prove that there are people here trying to do things the best they can too. 

Have you noticed the problem of a kitchen and waiting staff shortage?
The team is what matters most to me and I work on it every day. But, perhaps because of winning the Michelin star, this year we’ve received more CVs than ever. For us it’s been the total reverse, at a time when, of course, we’re aware of the problems in this area.

What do you think about the changes to food that are happening in Mallorca?
I think it’s fantastic. I’m really proud of being from Mallorca and its food revolution. I remember when I left here ten years ago and returned two or three years later, you could already notice a change... But, right now, you can tell that all the chefs of my age in Mallorca left here to train. And now really cool personal concepts and things are appearing on the island. You can now say, without fear of criticism, that it’s possible to enjoy gourmet food in Mallorca. 

It’s also true that producers have played a big role in this evolution. We don’t buy vegetables that aren’t from Mallorca but, at the start, it was hard to buy certain products. Thanks to producers here, today you can work exclusively with local vegetables.

You can now say, without fear of criticism, that it’s possible to enjoy gourmet food in Mallorca

What is Fusion19’s most iconic dish?
Now, finally, we’re trying to have emblematic dishes at Fusion19. We were so radical before that we changed the menu (completely, without repeating anything) really often. And we’ve realised that we have to keep some things if we want to have iconic dishes. Like the savoury ensaimada or our home-made bread. 

Sustainability is also important at Fusion19. How do you work towards it?
We’re making a kitchen garden at the moment. We want all the vegetables on the menu to come from our garden (or at least 80%). That’s how we want to achieve sustainability. Also, we buy all our tableware from local artisans and people from Mallorca...

Fusion19 Restaurant, Mallorca

Fusio19 © Fusion19

How do you see your future?
I think I’ll keep on growing at the restaurant, I have an objective that, at the moment, is very clear: keep my feet on the ground, continue improving the concept and for everything to make sense.  We’re on the right path to keep on growing. 

What would you say to the next generation of chefs?
They should work with passion. If what you like is cooking, then train and focus on what you like so that you follow a personal path and don’t lose your motivation. With passion there’s no stopping anyone. Like in any other profession, you have to make sacrifices, but if you want to be good and you like what you do, you don’t mind working a lot longer than your official hours.

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