Exclusive Interview with Andrea Drago, Chef of Orobianco Ristorante di Calpe

Exclusive interview with Andrea Drago, the chef who breathes life into this gastronomic oasis, Orobianco di Calpe. Unveils the enchantment awaiting those in search of an authentic experience on the Costa Blanca. With exclusive vistas of the majestic Peñón de Ifach, this restaurant expertly merges the essence of Mediterranean and Italian cuisine, harnessing the bounties of seasonal produce from the region. 

To delve into your world as a chef, could you tell us where you studied and how long you’ve been immersed in the world of gastronomy?

I was born in Como in ’89 and received my training at a professional training center in the province of Como. I started in the world of gastronomy at a very young age when I was just 17, back in 2006. I arrived in Spain in late 2013 to work at the “Lasarte” restaurant in Barcelona, and what was supposed to be a 1- to 2-year experience turned into 8 years working in that fantastic city. In 2022, I returned to Italy for a few months, and since January 2023, I have been the head chef at Orobianco restaurant located in Calpe.

What were your first steps in gastronomy?

In the final year of school, in 2006, I did an internship at the Piazza Duomo restaurant in Alba. This place had no Michelin stars at the time, and now it has 3. It was my first exposure to fine dining. From then on, I understood what truly fascinated me and what I would look for in my future experiences.

What culinary style characterizes you?

Italian, Mediterranean cuisine with a clear Spanish technical influence due to my time in Barcelona and the guidance of Paolo Casagrande, the chef of the Lasarte restaurant. My experiences in Japan and the Nordic countries also refine my offerings to showcase the product in the best possible way.

What is your signature dish (or dishes)?

Certainly, the squid tartare, almond, guanciale, and cured yolk, the Spaghettone with marrow pil-pil and caviar, or the Fusilli with grapefruit, smoked scallop, and Franciacorta air. These dishes have become the classics of Orobianco.

How were your beginnings at Orobianco, and what is your current role at the restaurant?

The beginning was quite challenging, starting from scratch without knowing the facilities, suppliers, or contacts in the area. That made it a bit difficult. However, I was fortunate to be surrounded by great professionals who made everything we have achieved possible. I am the head chef of the restaurant, and I am proud that it is so.

What can you highlight from the current food and beverage menu?

The pasta and rice dishes, without a doubt, along with the extensive selection of Italian wines.

What type of products do you use, and where do you source them?

We highly value local products; the meat we use comes from Altea, and the fish usually from the Costa Blanca or the Spanish mainland. From Italy, we import several essential products for our cuisine, such as pasta, rice, canned goods, and some fresh vegetables. In the wine cellar, which is a fundamental part of the restaurant, you can find as many Spanish as Italian and international wines.

What would be your speech or recommendation to encourage people to dine at Orobianco?

We offer a unique experience, high-level Mediterranean cuisine with Italian influence. Something not very common yet highly recommended for fine dining enthusiasts.

What do you enjoy most about working in the kitchen of this restaurant?

Having the opportunity to do what we love most and making people happy, providing memorable experiences.

What do you love most about Mediterranean cuisine, and how does it influence your culinary proposals?

What I love most are the products that we are fortunate to find in this region. The creation of dishes revolves around them, allowing them to shine.

Lastly, what are your medium-term plans? What does it mean to you to be a great chef?

I visualize myself here, at Orobianco, enjoying cooking alongside my team. Being a great chef means taking care of the team, exchanging ideas so that everyone feels included and contributes their knowledge, and offering our customers the best possible experience.

Orobianco Ristorante di Calpe, under the guidance of the talented chef Andrea Drago, is much more than just a restaurant. It is a haven of flavors that celebrates the diversity of Mediterranean and Italian cuisine with a Spanish influence. Their dedication to local products, culinary art, and service excellence ensures an unforgettable experience. The breathtaking views of the Peñón de Ifach add to the charm of this place, creating the perfect setting for a romantic and authentic evening on the Costa Blanca. In Orobianco, food becomes poetry, and love blossoms in every dish. Are you ready to immerse yourself in this culinary universe?

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