Santi Taura

Written by Mia Naprta

Photo credits by Tarek Serraj

Written by Mia Naprta

Photo credits by Tarek Serraj

Rediscovering historical Mallorcan recipes and bringing them into 21st century

If you have ever been to Palma and looked for great restaurant recommendations, the name of Santi Taura must have come to mind! Chef Santi Taura is celebrated for his innovative approach to traditional Mallorcan cuisine. With an unswerving dedication to preserving the island’s historical recipes, Santi’s restaurants have become emblematic of his commitment to redefining culinary experiences. Santi’s restaurants follow his culinary philosophy, where each dish becomes a narrative, narrating the story of Mallorca’s past and present, heavily inspired by his surroundings. We met at his Michelin star restaurant DINS to find out more…

How did you become a chef?

I became a chef “by accident”. At the age of 14, when it was time to choose a career, I had no idea where to turn. My dad was a blacksmith and my mom was a housewife. I heard that my dad’s friend’s son was studying to become a chef and this piqued my interest. One day, a teacher asked everyone what they wanted to study further. My classmates were saying things like a dentist or a lawyer, and looked at me like I was “un bicho raro” (a strange bug) when I said that I wanted to be a chef. In that moment, I knew that this would become my calling.

I wondered where your classmates are now, while you turned out to be one of the most successful chefs – if not The One – on the island?! How did you get there?

It began in my hometown of Lloseta, where I transformed a century-old family blacksmith shop into my flagship restaurant. Here, I combined modern techniques with age-old recipes, breathing new life into forgotten dishes. My interest in locally sourced ingredients and age-old cooking methods led to a revival of traditional Mallorcan flavours that might have otherwise faded away. The success of “DINS Santi Taura” led to opening of three other restaurants over time, while the original moved to Palma as well, leaving the space in Lloseta for what is now known as our “central kitchen”.

What else that you do is different from other chefs on the island?

My former professor, Joan Abrines, was the first on the island to offer a tasting menu, and I decided to do something similar, but in my own way. As Lloseta is very small and people talk, I used this gossip as feedback and a way to improve my menu (changing it weekly), my service, and my space. I was conducting my own market research before anyone else around me and reinvented tasting menus in the process, all the while improving and modernising traditional Mallorcan cuisine. Over time, more and more restaurants began offering tasting menus, essentially copying my ideas. Like Tesla, “I don’t care that they are copying my ideas. I care that they don’t have any of their own.” On a serious note, these copycats pushed me to keep reinventing myself, to always do something different from the others, to keep being “un bicho raro”.

You were always into history of dishes. Tell us your favourite example of that…

We have a dish with plum sauce whose history goes back to Roman times. If you did not know that, Romans founded Palma, in the 5th century BC. Another example is our centuries old empanada de pescado de roca (fish empanada). You just have to try it! 

If you wanted to really impress someone special, say a date, what would you cook for them? 

I would not go with any elaborate, fancy dishes. I would seek the best, freshest possible ingredients, prepared simply to preserve their flavour.

Who would you invite to your perfect dinner table?

I would invite people whose company I enjoy, for example some chefs from Menorca; amongst others: Miquel Sànchez from Smoix, Daniel Mora from Sa Pedrera des Pujol, David de Coca from Sa Llagosta…

Plans for 2024?

I am thinking about developing the “private chef” aspect of my work a bit more, working with the highest end villas and yachts. Let’s see …

Santi’s legacy, amongst other things, is that he taught people in Mallorca and the rest of the Balearics that we can “cook history” and “taste history” and, at the same time, receive the highest possible accolade in the world of gastronomy – a Michelin star. Talking about that, another way that Santi is different to his contemporaries is that he does not display or mention his Michelin star anywhere in the hotel or the restaurant. If you know – you know!

Santi Taura´s Restaurants:

    • Dins Santi Taura, Palma
    • Restaurant Urbà, Palma
    • Restaurant El Vicenç, Cala Vicenç
    • Restaurant U Mayol, Cala Vicenç

Instagram: @santitaura


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