Chef Jose Andres, On Spain's Celebratory Feasting

With Spain's World Cup win, people back home are festive. Michele Norris talks to celebrated Spanish chef Jose Andres, who attended the soccer championships in South Africa.

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MICHELE NORRIS, Host:

It's safe to say that Spain will be celebrating yesterday's World Cup victory for days with parades, public speeches and plenty of food. And we wondered, what might they be enjoying at all those celebratory feasts? So we called on someone who's no stranger to our listeners, Chef Jose Andres, the host of the PBS series "Made in Spain."

JOSE ANDRES: What I can tell you, something that would not be on the menu. This may seem like a joke, but after watching this Octopus Paul betting that Spain will be the winner, you are going to understand that I don't think anyone is going to be eating octopus anytime soon.

NORRIS: Now, I should explain something. You took octopus off the menu at all your restaurants because of this psychic octopus named Paul.

ANDRES: I think I'm tweeting few weeks ago and in the heat of the moment, I tweet, hey, if Spain beat Germany, I'm taking the octopus out of the menu. And you know, I didn't realize what he did and now I have to stick to my word in honor of this creature that selected Spain as the winner.

NORRIS: Oh, it's a sign of respect, okay.

ANDRES: Yeah. (unintelligible) is going to be eating octopus in my restaurant for a while. So it might seem like a joke, but to me it's kind of how nonsense winning a World Cup can be. But on a more serious note, politically to win this is so amazing because Spain is such a small country. Because in time we are so many different people and so many different languages that finally we have kind of something that happened that is uniting.

NORRIS: You know, it's interesting because Spain has for centuries been a bit of a melting pot. But what would people be eating to celebrate this victory?

ANDRES: Well, the menu would have to be the main staples of Spanish cooking that as you said, celebrate the melting pot of Spain, of Romans, of Jewish, of Arabs working together through generations. So, you know, probably gazpacho will be on the menu, a great tomato soup. I will probably serve a very good rioja wine with a great Campania, which is the national red grape of Spain. And probably, why not, a paella? But the paella done in the right way, over wood- burning fire.

NORRIS: That sounds delicious, but, Jose, do me a favor. Think of that coastal village where you were born and where you grew up. What do you think people would be serving there? Help me understand what a celebration would be like in one of the small villages in Spain.

ANDRES: (unintelligible) Where I born, is Asturias, the beautiful northern region of Spain. Very clean, beautiful mountains, beautiful sea. And there, people love simple ingredients that tell how pay tribute to the goodness of the earth. So the national dish in Asturias is fabada Asturiana. It's a beautiful stew of a bean that is called fabes, that you will cook slowly with blood sausage, with chorizo and with bacon. And drinking always sidra Asturiana, which in English is cider.

NORRIS: Jose, when they rung you up, I wasn't sure that you were going to have a voice left to talk to us because I imagine you were screaming at the top of your lungs.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

NORRIS: But I'm so glad that you saved some of your voice for us. It's been great to talk to you.

ANDRES: I did it for you, anything. And I can tell you I was crying like a little kid for so long. So between crying and the voice, anyway, if I lost the voice, wouldn't be good. But I'm happy that I had voice left for you.

NORRIS: That's Jose Andres. He's the host of the PBS series "Made in Spain." And he runs several restaurants in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles. He spoke to us from the airport in Johannesburg.

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