While reading the July issue of Vanity Fair Spain I found a very interesting article about Clara de Amezua, founder of Alambique, one of the most prestigious Spanish cooking schools and cookshops. I loved the article but what I loved the most were the pictures of Clara’s home in Puerta de Hierro (Madrid)

The house was designed by renowned Spanish architect Luis Gutierrez Soto and Clara’s late husband, Lino Llamas. To decorate the house, Llamas brought wood from Canada and industrial kitchen appliances from the United States, suitable for their family (of eight children)  The couple took advantage of family inheritances and bought unique Spanish crafts and pieces that they found at auctions or antique shops. The house was decorated with Mallorcan fabrics, porcelain from all over the world and Clara’s collection of copper kitchen moulds that belonged to Empress Eugenia and she acquired on an auction house.

Clara admits that her favourite part of the house is the breakfast room, decorated with tiles from Talavera de la Reina. “I copied the idea from American homes. It is a very lively place where things happen and everything is discussed. Some time ago I was participating in a radio talk show with Juan Mari Arzak and Ferran Adrià and we always said that we should promote this type of space over the dining room, which is barely used “. De Amezúa is a strong advocate of this room that has always played an important role in people’s lives  “The kitchen produces intelligent people” she says “You can’t run a restaurant without sensitivity and an organised mind. Cooks are smart people”

Images: Vanity Fair Spain. Photography: Diego de la Fuente. Stylist: Estefania Quiroga.

In 1974, Clara de Amezua founded Alambique with four partners. The kitchenware store was conceived on a trip to New York where she attended a cooking course and in the same place where the session was held, there was a small area dedicated to cooking utensils that couldn’t be found in Spain back then. Relying on the advice of her friend Julia Child and Elisabeth David (another friend and renowned English cook and store owner) Clara opened her cookshop offering the newest things on the market.

Alambique Cooking School: Clara with Alain Gigant 

The idea of opening a cooking school was born on a trip to France. Clara convinced some of the best chefs on the Cote de Azur to come to teach cooking lessons in Madrid in the low season when their restaurants were closed. Top chefs like Alain Gigant or a very young Alain Ducasse travelled to Madrid to teach at Alambique.
The first ones who saw the opportunity to learn from these French top chefs were young Spanish chefs who are key figures of the Spanish cuisine today.

Images: Google Arts and Culture / Real Academia de Gastronomia

I’m sharing below a few more images I found of Clara’s home and her fabulous table settings in Alambique’s Instagram

 

Gloria González

2 comments on “At home with Clara de Amezua, the doyenne of Spanish cuisine”

  1. Thank you, Gloria! I first saw your IG post on this lady and followed up here. How remarkable she is! And to have been friends with both Julia Child and Elizabeth David. (Which btw raises a question I’d often wondered about. To what extent were they ever aware of each other and if so how did they view each other? Friends even? Or rivals? I remember the 70s when English women were mad about David and Americas about Child.)
    But this lady I’d never heard of till now. How interesting the impact she must have had on young chefs and future restauranters like Alain Ducasse! What an interesting life she has led. Thank you for sharing this! With best wishes, Pamela

    • Thank you Pamela! I’m so glad you liked the post- Clara’s life is remarkable. Best wishes, GG xx

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