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Spain: Michelin Guide awards new stars to 31 Spanish restaurants, but creates no new top-rated venues | Spain

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There are no new three-star restaurants in the 2022 Michelin Guide to Spain and Portugal, which was launched last night at an in-person ceremony in Valencia, albeit broadcast online as well given the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. In attendance at the Palau de las Artes opera house were key figures from the eastern Spanish region’s gastronomic scene, coordinated by leading chef Quique Dacosta, whose eponymous restaurant is to be found in Denia.

A total of 31 Spanish restaurants received new stars; for most, it was their first, but four of them have now become two-star establishments.

Despite the disappointment for those who were hoping to see their fortunes take a turn thanks to the latest ratings from the world-famous guide, the sector enjoyed this celebration of gastronomy, which was a welcome night of long speeches after last year’s virtual affair.

“We are very lucky and honored to achieve this recognition in such difficult times as those we are all living through right now,” came the emotional words from one of the protagonists of the night, Paulo Airaudo, chef at Amelia in San Sebastián, in the Basque Country. The restaurant was bumped up to two stars at Tuesday’s ceremony.

The chefs Paulo Airaudo, who runs Amelia; Iván Cerdeño, of the same-name restaurant, and Álvaro Salazar, at the helm of Voro.
The chefs Paulo Airaudo, who runs Amelia; Iván Cerdeño, of the same-name restaurant, and Álvaro Salazar, at the helm of Voro.

In the last edition of the guide, there were 11 three-star restaurants, and this situation remains unchanged for the 2022 edition. They are: Arzak, which has held this honor for three decades, and counts on Elena Arzak at the helm; Akelarre (chef Pedro Subijana); Martín Berasategui (run by the chef of the same name); Lasarte Barcelona (also run by Berasategui, with Paolo Casagrande); Celler de Can Roca; Quique Dacosta; Azurmendi (chef Eneko Atxa); Aponiente (Ángel León); ABaC (Jordi Cruz); DiverXo (Dabiz Muñoz); and Cenador de Amós (Jesús Sánchez).

These top-rated restaurants (the stars go to the establishment, not the chef) are the only ones on the peninsula, given that Portugal has no three-star venues. The last restaurant in Spain to be granted the top accolade was Cenador de Amós, in the 2020 guide.

Just four new Spanish restaurants will have two stars in 2022, and they are located in San Sebastián, the Balearic Island of Mallorca, Toledo and Madrid.

Amelia is the project from chef Paulo Airaudo in San Sebastián. It’s an intimate setting with a bar and three tables, and is located inside the Villa Favorita hotel, overlooking the bay of La Concha. It had already won a single star thanks to its skilful and delicate mix of Argentine, Italian and Japanese culinary influences. “We are very happy to have contributed to a city that is brimming with great chefs,” said Airaudo when he was given his new jacket.

Voro, in Mallorca, was another of the two-star winners. The dishes from Andalusian chef Álvaro Salazar are Mediterranean creations that are “free and unbound,” according to the guide, with a subtle matching of textures and undertones. The restaurant, which is located in the Park Hyatt Hotel in Canayamel, had already picked up one star in the 2020 edition.

The eponymous restaurant from Iván Cerdeño, located in Toledo and which enjoys beautiful views of the city, also improved its classification thanks to its “homage to the produce from La Mancha, with creative and innovative compositions,” according to Michelin. The cuisine is focused on the local surroundings, with a particular focus on game dishes.

Winners of one star: María José Martínez of Lienzo, Carito Lourenço of Fierro, Vicky Sevilla, of Arrels, Alejandra Herrador of Atalaya
Winners of one star: María José Martínez of Lienzo, Carito Lourenço of Fierro, Vicky Sevilla, of Arrels, Alejandra Herrador of AtalayaRosa Rivas Carrero

Of particular note at this year’s awards was the direct granting of two stars to an establishment that opened in June of this year: Smoked Room, a restaurant with just a few tables that focuses on grilling and smoking its dishes. The Michelin judges were “enchanted by the preparations with their subtle touches of smoke.” The restaurant is located in the Castellana Hyatt Regency Hesperia hotel, which was previously home to the iconic Santceloni. Both Smoked Room and neighboring Leña belong to Grupo Dani García. The chef was once behind an eponymous restaurant in Marbella, which he closed down in 2019 after it won three Michelin stars to focus on other projects.

A total of 27 establishments all over Spain walked away from last night’s ceremony with one Michelin star. The Valencia region took six, with many female chefs among the winners: Lienzo (María José Martínez), Fierro (Carito Lourenço) and Kaido Sushi Bar in Valencia city; Arrels (Vicky Sevilla) in Sagunto, Atalaya (Alejandra Herrador) in Alcossebre and Peix & Brases in Dénia.

Some of the winners have brought the shine of previous projects to their new establishments. This is the case of Ment, the restaurant that Oscar Calleja opened in Salamanca after closing his two-star Annua in San Vicente de la Barquera. El Serbal, meanwhile, which has been moved to El Sardinero beach in Santander (Cantabria), has kept the single star it was first awarded in 2003. Also in Santander, the Casona del Judío from chef Sergio Bastard won its first star.

In Ribadesella, Asturias, Ayalga won its first star, as did the Japanese restaurant in Marbella Nintai. Both of these interesting projects are helmed by sommelier and restaurateur Marcos Granda. In Santiago de Compostela, Galicia; a star went to Auga e Sal, from chef Áxel Smith. Nublo, in Haro, La Rioja, also took a single star, as did Lera, in Castroverde de Campos, Castilla y León, for its extraordinary game dishes.

Nub and El Rincón de Juan Carlos, on the Canary Island of Tenerife, took one star each, while the neighboring island of Gran Canaria saw a star awarded to Poemas by Hermanos Padrón. The Balearic Islands, meanwhile, took one star for the reopened Zaranda in Mallorca, from chef Fernando P. Arellano, as did La Gaia on the island of Ibiza.

Completing the single-star list are Atempo in Barcelona, Garena in Dima (Basque Country), Cañabota in Seville (Andalusi), Coto de Quevedo in Torre de Juan Abad (Castilla-La Mancha), and Versátil in Zarza de Granadilla (Extremadura).

“Despite being a complicated year for the gastronomy sector, the gourmets will be delighted to see that Spain and Portugal are seeing an impressive number of new restaurants with stars springing up throughout the territory,” said a source at Michelin, whose inspectors completed their reports in October.

That said, the latest guide omits some of the new projects in Madrid, which is currently going through a particularly brilliant moment in terms of gastronomy. The only new stars for the city – apart from Smoked Room – were for Deesa, a restaurant from the orbit of Quique Dacosta that is located in the refurbished Ritz Mandarin Oriental Hotel, and Quimbaya, run by Colombian chef Edwin Rodríguez.

The principality of Andorra, which is nestled in the Pyrenees between Spain and France, enters the 2022 Michelin Guide with the restaurant Ibaya, which has won a star under the supervision of Spanish chef Francis Paniego.

The coronavirus pandemic has claimed many victims in the hospitality sector and this latest edition of the Michelin Guide reflects this. A total of 24 restaurants in the Spain and Portugal guide have been left without stars – 16 of these due to closures or a move to new premises, and eight that have lost the distinction: Monastrell, Orobianco, Manuel Alonso Restaurante, Es Racó d’Es Teix, Casamar, El Club Allard, Sents and Alejandro.



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Way too early for housing starts to engender feelgood factor

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Analysis: Strong indicators for construction tempered by affordability, supply chain and targets

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College Park to remain in full use for Trinity sports clubs

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The board of Trinity College has agreed to pursue an alternative site for the building of a temporary exhibition pavilion during the renovation period of its Old Library, saving College Park from what several affected sports clubs said would have proven “hugely detrimental” to their training and competition needs.

Concerns had been raised over the timing and level of consultation with regard to College Park being named the preferred site last November, three of Trinity’s largest and oldest sporting clubs – athletics, football and cricket – already raising considerable objections over the proposal.

A Trinity communications press statement on Wednesday afternoon said that, subject to statutory constraints, “the Board of Trinity has today (Wednesday) approved a proposal to renovate the Printing House building, which would house the Book of Kells during the period of renovation, and also create a temporary exhibition in New Square, at the centre of campus”.

The alternative proposal of the Printing House, coupled with New Square, “follows consultation within the Trinity community”; Trinity students have four representatives on the 27-strong board, three from the Students’ Union (SU), and one from the Graduate Students’ Union (GSU), their president Gisèle Scanlon, and all four had already expressed their dissent at the College Park proposal.

“A process of careful consultation across College has led to today’s agreement on how to proceed with this plan,” said Trinity provost Linda Doyle. “I want to thank those involved for their engagement. We believe this choice of location offers the best possible solution for our staff, students and future visitors to College.”

Trinity’s bursar Eleanor Denny added: “We are extremely grateful to everyone in Trinity who helped us arrive at this crucial decision. This innovative plan allows us to preserve public access to the Book of Kells, one of Ireland’s foremost cultural attractions as well as restoring one of the oldest landmark buildings on campus, the Printing House.”

A Trinity email first sent to affected clubs in October said: “Based on early discussions Trinity has had with Dublin City Council, the location with the best opportunity to secure planning permission is College Park.”

A feasibility study outlining the scale of the project allowed for the continuation of some sport at College Park; however, according to the three clubs, this would have effectively rendered College Park useless as a competition and match facility, while also depriving the wider college community the sort of green space it increasingly craves.

The Old Library renovation is expected to take between three to five years, costing around €120 million, which meant it could have been 2028 before the space was restored. The temporary exhibition project is still subject to planning permission.

“We were very worried about this, for a very long time, and spent a lot of time lobbying against this,” said Scanlon, the GSU president also starting a petition to Save College Park. “All other options weren’t properly considered, and I think there should be lessons learnt on this. And whatever happens with the planning from this point, College Park should not be on the agenda, and should never have been on the agenda.”

Ray O’Malley, president of Dublin University Association Football Club (DUAFC), founded in 1883, also welcomed the outcome of Wednesday’s board meeting: “I think they [the board] misjudged the feelings towards College Park, from the general student base, and the clubs that use it,” he said. “Thankfully they appear to have belatedly realised that, and somewhere down the line the correct decision has been made, perhaps not following in the correct procedure.

“It’s our unique selling point, and the reason why we were fighting so hard for this. Even if it was only on a temporary basis, it’s too important for us. We all recognise the importance and value of the Book of Kells, but sport is a very importance part of college life too, and we’re extremely grateful for the role that people like Gisèle played in this, some of the club members, and that the powers that be accepted somewhere down the line that College Park simply wasn’t the right place for this proposal.”

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Pandemic need for flexibility not reflected in draft laws

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Draft laws on remote working mark an attempt by Tánaiste Leo Varadkar to formalise radical work practice changes that were suddenly introduced when Covid-19 struck two years ago.

Back then, the force of the pandemic was such that procedural and legal niceties were swept aside in the rush to protect public health and keep the economy turning. Many tricky questions were avoided at that time but they can be avoided no longer now that most restrictions have been lifted.

“We’ve worked through for two years basically turning a blind eye to the whole thing but that will stop,” said Richard Grogan, an employment law solicitor in Dublin.

“We’ve been working through an emergency which is slightly different. The emergency is now finishing.”

The new regime is supposed to open more choice for workers if they wish to work from home, giving them a right to seek such arrangements after six months. But in-built flexibilities for employers open scope for them to refuse permission to work remotely on 13 grounds.

Conflict appears inevitable. With key details still to be worked out, legal experts, employers and unions foresee many potential pitfalls and practical challenges when it comes to implementing the new arrangements in real time.

Many say the pandemic changed the world of work forever. A recent Central Statistics Office survey suggests that 80 per cent of workers worked remotely at some point since coronavirus struck, compared with 23 per cent before it. Two years later, with all signs suggesting the most acute phase of the health crisis has passed, these practices have bedded down to an extent that few might have expected at the outset.

Traffic and transport

Of those in employment who can work remotely, CSO data suggests 88 per cent want to continue after restrictions were removed: 28 per cent of them all the time; and 60 per cent some of the time. The proportion expressing that preference was highest at 93 per cent among respondents in counties Kildare, Louth, Meath and Wicklow in the Dublin commuter belt, where workers often encounter long traffic delays and overcrowded public transport.

If all of that points to high demand to avail of new laws, considerable hurdles remain to be overcome. To name but a few, these centre on domestic health and safety legislation, insurance issues, European data-protection law and on the Workplace Relations Commission’s new role in determining appeals to decisions against remote working.

“A lot of the issues that are going to go to the WRC where there isn’t agreement will relate to things like health and safety of a premises or [General Data Protection Regulation] compliance or whether somebody can actually do their work remotely. The [WRC] adjudication officers aren’t trained in any of those areas,” said Grogan.

“They are not there to look at a work station and say: ‘Does it comply with health and safety? Is it possible to put a work station into this bedroom safely?’ So that’s a huge issue.”

Asked whether the WRC had enough resources, the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment said it would “work closely” with the institution to ensure it did. “Adjudication officers will receive appropriate information on the content of the legislation and the WRC was consulted on the heads of the Bill,” the department said.

Grogan suggested the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act might have to be “dumbed down” for remote work. “The only change you could bring in is if you’re working from home and you have an accident it’s your problem.”

Employer ‘nervousness’

He added that changes might also be required to the Civil Liability Act, which governs personal injuries. “There’s going to be a bit of nervousness overall about this,” he said, referring to employers.

But while the Government always has the option of amending Irish law, it can’t do anything on its own with European GDPR rules that impose stringent restrictions on how business uses sensitive personal data.

Neil McDonnell, chief executive of the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises business representative group, pointed to potential difficulties with remote-working where staff deal with such data. These include companies in the area of external payroll support – dealing with gross and net pay and issues like payments under maintenance agreements – and human resources support.

“There’s a few business that have been able to function remotely but reluctantly and with a lot of concern around what they’re doing,” McDonnell said.

“They basically have the innards of the company sitting on laptops. You could have someone doing HR support on their laptop in the kitchen – a bullying complaint, a harassment complaint or something of a sexual nature – and you have people who are third parties with no involvement in the companies walking past looking at that stuff.”

Employers were also concerned about the potential for claims for personal injury while working at home, McDonnell added. “We’re waiting to see something coming to court, or the Personal Injuries Assessment Board or the Health and Safety Authority.”

The plan has also come in for criticism from Fórsa, the largest public sector union, which said the “business grounds” for refusing remote working were too broad.

The union said the inclusion of grounds such as “potential negative impact on quality”, “potential negative impact on performance” and “planned structural change” would create loopholes that could allow employers turn down requests for no objective or proven reason.

“Employers must not have the option of simply turning down requests on spurious or vague grounds. Instead, they must be required to demonstrate, in a concrete way, that remote or blended arrangements are unworkable before they can turn down a request,” said Kevin Callinan, Fórsa general secretary.

Further questions are certain to arise as the law works its way through the Dáil and Seanad. The pandemic was all about ad hoc moves. Permanent arrangements are another matter entirely.

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