Cooking with stars: VERSATIL, Zarza de Granadilla, Spain. 1 Michelin Star

Versatile Restaurant in Zarza de Granadilla (Cáceres, Spain) is the collaborative creation of three brothers: David, José, and Alejandro Hernández Talaván. It's known for its Extremaduran cuisine made with seasonal products and served with care and dedication. The restaurant offers two distinct settings: the Salon, which is the more elegant and gastronomic area where guests can enjoy tasting menus and a diverse carte, and the Bodega, a more informal space in the basement that maintains the high-quality service and cuisine in Versatil's unique style.

Alejandro Hernández Talaván, the chef at Versátil Restaurant, had a clear vision of his calling from a young age. After studying at the Salamanca School of Hospitality, he ventured to Lasarte in the Basque Country, where he worked alongside one of Spain's most prestigious chefs, Martin Berasategui. In 2017, Alejandro returned to his hometown with renewed inspiration to offer a cuisine that focuses on local, seasonal ingredients prepared with sincerity and honesty in his own establishment​.​

On December 14, 2021, the esteemed Versátil Restaurant located in Zarza de Granadilla was awarded its first Michelin star. This accolade was presented at a ceremony in Valencia, placing Versátil among the finest in Spanish and Portuguese gastronomy. The award recognized the restaurant's commitment to utilizing top-quality Extremaduran products and crafting a contemporary gastronomic experience with meticulous presentations and attention to detail. Chef Alejandro Hernández, alongside his brother and renowned chef Martín Berasategui, accepted the honor, signifying the team's dedication and the establishment's new status as a Michelin-starred destination.​

Egg yolk cured with Smoked Paprika Powder La Chinata, pearls and paprika air La chinata, crispy Iberian bacon and liquid herb salad.

This dish by Chef Alejandro Hernández Talaván of Versátil Restaurant is a celebration of the flavors of Extremadura. It features a yolk cured in Pimentón de La Vera by La Chinata, which offers a smoky depth. Accompanying the yolk are pearls and foam made from the same pimentón, adding layers of texture and intensity. The crispiness comes from the Iberian pancetta, providing a savory crunch that contrasts the softness of the yolk. Finally, a 'liquid salad' of herbs injects freshness and a slight zing, balancing the dish's richness and tying together the symphony of Extremaduran tastes.

For Chef Alejandro Hernández Talaván of Versátil Restaurant, the use of smoked paprika is a means to convey his story and roots through his dishes​1. Versátil's culinary approach is grounded in traditional cooking with classic, recognizable flavors, emphasizing the importance of authentic taste for each ingredient to offer a balanced, clean, and honest gastronomic experience​​. This philosophy underpins his culinary style, where local ingredients like the region's famed paprika are showcased with care and authenticity.