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Dreaming of Leonardo's menu

The whole city might be begging for his famous Andalusian gazpacho, of which he seems particularly proud, but Juan Pablo Felipe never loses track of who he is.

Published on December 1, 2007

Of course, he was taught by the very best of Spanish new cuisine, and Ferran AdriÓ's influence on this young talent is unmistakable. But at the core, Felipe remains a man of simplicity, not unlike the single olive tree that stands in the middle of his restaurant.

"Humility" is, according to Felipe, the most fundamental quality of a good chef. And, indeed, it takes a lot of it to keep one's head cool under this much pressure: El Chaflan has steadily become one of Madrid's trendiest restaurants, and that in itself is its own challenge.

"But you know, paella is still my favourite dish," he admits readily, although his real dream remains to be able one day to cook "Leonardo's menu", a set of recipes devised by

Da Vinci for Ludovico Esforza. How do you jump from the traditional paella to a legendary course designed by the greatest mind of the Risorgiamento? You need a taste for simplicity combined with true culinary genius. Felipe probably has both.

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