Sarah Stathart (Chef, food writer)

Inspired by the local and seasonal tastes of Spain, Sarah Stothart – an Aussie-born, globetrotting, cook extraordinaire – opened one of Barcelona’s first dining clubs, the acclaimed Tapioles 53. 

Buying the ingredients for her restaurant daily from Barcelona’s markets, a relationship with the farmers and flavours of the region was born and this, along with a love of Spain’s traditional food, led to Sarah becoming a sought-after member of Barcelona’s food scene.

For those joining our Northern Spain trip, you'll get to share Sarah's love of Spanish cuisine on Day 2 when she hosts a market walk – where you can meet the stallholders she's been buying from for many years – and a hands-on cooking class.


Q&A with Sarah

What drove you to open, Tapioles 53, the first clandestine supper club and restaurant in Barcelona?

Tapioles 53 was a dream that I had been cooking up for many years. I wanted to create a comfortable space where people could be inspired by food, and to create wonderful food but to facilitate the connections people have sitting together sharing a meal. Food is amazing – it can bring people together like few other things can. Passing a perfect forkful to the person on the other side of the table, that simple act says so much. 

What makes Catalan cuisine distinct?

The main influence is the climate, but the Catalans tend to create, to a degree, comfort food. Stews, trinxat (mashed potatoes topped with slow cooked cabbage and topped with a fried egg) and various delicious soups.

5 favourite Catalan dishes?

Trinxat. Mashed potatoes topped with slow cooked cabbage and topped with a fried egg.

Baby chickpeas and squid siphons. It’s a dry stew that melts in you mouth with the nutty earthy taste of the tiny chickpeas and the amazing texture and sea taste of the squid siphones.

Coca de cristal (a type of bread) with tomato. The grow a special variety of tomato here, which are hung to dry a little in long, braded stands and the tomatoes themselves are about double the size of a cherry tomato. They are simply cut in half and rubbed over the coca then drizzled with a little olive oil.

Cachots amb romesco. It’s a leek looking onion with sauce that has, among other things, almonds, garlic and noras (a smoky dried red pepper).

Suquet. A delicious rock fish soup

Favourite produce market in Barcelona?

Santa Catarina market without a doubt. It’s a beautiful space filled with amazing produce and people who are passionate about the product they sell.

As for ingredients….. 

Jamon de belota, the good stuff. Bad jamon is the most horrible experience but the good stuff when cut well is sublime.

Black footed chicken. They are raised in forests where they forage for food. They are scrawny and big boned, the meat is a little darker then a common chicken but now I only eat chicken if it can be one of these beauties. 

Chorizo. Once you have tasted the real thing it will be clear.

Olive oil. Albaquina is liquid gold.

Eggs, real eggs! Until you have eaten one there is no way to explain the difference but they are a wonder food.

Top Spanish beverages?

Godello white wine. Crisp clean slightly fruity, perfect for a summer day.

Water from the Cabreiroa Springs in Galicia. I am an ambassador for one of the waters from these springs but I truly love the water and drink it at home paying for the pleasure.

Kyrie, made by the winery Costers del Siurana, located in the Priorat wine region. Nothing short of an amazing white wine but very hard to find.

Orchata, a strange milk-like liquid that comes from the tiger nut. It’s drank super chilled on a hot summer’s day.

Why are Barcelona, Logrono and San Sebastian unmissable for food-lovers?

Barcelona’s markets – and not just the Boqueria. It is amazing but others are wonderful too. Eating at the market bars is wonderful. It is real food, no tiny square plate or designed food.

Logrono is a big food culture. It has Rioja wine and amazing tapas!

San Sebastian is the food centre of Spain. They have an amazing amount of natural resources from cold-water fish to wild mushrooms. Also people from this area make food one of their top priorities.


Meet our Intrepid Foodies

They are all remarkable chefs and food experts who have inspired us with their culinary flair, cookbooks, articles and television shows. They personify authentic culinary experiences, have a passion for travel and celebrate the world’s best food – just like our Food Adventures.

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