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Aitor Zabala: The Unrecognized Culinary Genius Revealed by Andrew Zimmern

Andrew Zimmern identifies the world’s most underrated chef

When it comes to culinary expertise and a penchant for adventurous eating, few people match the reputation and experience of Andrew Zimmern. As host of the popular Travel Channel show “Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern,” he has sampled some of the strangest and most exotic dishes from around the globe. From cow placenta to fermented sheep’s head, Zimmern’s palate knows no bounds.
Zimmern is not only known for his daring food adventures, but also for his own cooking skills. He has shared numerous recipes that are both delicious and accessible to home cooks. From his delicious one-pot Sticky Chicken Wings to his irresistible Key Lime Pie, Zimmern has proven himself to be a talented chef.

The Underrated Talent

In a recent YouTube video titled “Honest Q&A,” Zimmern was asked to name the most underrated chef he has ever worked with. Without hesitation, Zimmern praised José Andrés, a renowned chef in his own right. But Zimmern also shed light on another talented individual who often flies under the radar.
The chef in question is Aitor Zabala, who was once the head of Andrés’ culinary team. Zimmern described Zabala as “the least talked about chef on the planet” and expressed his admiration for his immense skill. Zimmern recalled the incredible culinary synergy between Zabala and Andrés, emphasizing that their collaboration exceeded expectations.

Aitor Zabala: The Barcelona native

A native of Barcelona, Aitor Zabala is renowned for his expertise in Spanish cuisine. He honed his culinary skills alongside Andrés at the world-renowned El Bulli, widely regarded as the best restaurant in the world. Zabala’s association with such a prestigious establishment speaks volumes about his culinary skills.
But Zabala’s motivation goes beyond accolades and recognition. He is driven by passion, not financial gain. Unlike the American fine dining culture, which often prioritizes business, Zabala believes that young chefs in Spain and Europe enter the culinary world out of a genuine love for the craft. For Zabala, the goal is not to open a restaurant for profit, but to channel his passion and creativity into creating exceptional dining experiences.
Zabala’s approach to cooking is rooted in his dedication to quality and the pursuit of excellence. He revealed that if his goal were purely financial, he would opt for a high-capacity restaurant with less personal involvement. Instead, he chooses to focus on small establishments that allow him to immerse himself in the artistry of his culinary creations.

The Unspoken Brilliance

Despite his remarkable skills and contributions to the culinary world, Aitor Zabala remains relatively unknown outside of culinary circles. Andrew Zimmern’s endorsement serves as a testament to Zabala’s exceptional talent, but it also highlights the underappreciation that often exists in the industry.
As food enthusiasts and connoisseurs, it is important to recognize and celebrate the unsung heroes of the culinary world. Chefs like Aitor Zabala, who dedicate their lives to perfecting their craft, deserve the spotlight and recognition they rarely receive.
So the next time you embark on a culinary adventure or visit a restaurant, take a moment to appreciate the skill, passion, and creativity that chefs like Aitor Zabala bring to the table. Their contributions to the world of gastronomy deserve our recognition and support.
Andrew Zimmern’s revelation about the world’s most underrated chef is a reminder that talent often lies beneath the surface, waiting to be discovered and celebrated by those who truly appreciate the culinary arts.


Born in Barcelona, Aitor Zabala is a highly talented chef known for his expertise in Spanish cuisine. He has worked alongside renowned chef José Andrés and was once the head of Andrés’ culinary team.

What has Andrew Zimmern said about Aitor Zabala?

Andrew Zimmern described Aitor Zabala as “the least talked about chef on the planet” and praised his immense skill. Zimmern highlighted the extraordinary culinary synergy between Zabala and José Andrés.

Where did Aitor Zabala learn his culinary skills?

Aitor Zabala gained his culinary experience at El Bulli, a world-renowned restaurant considered to be the best in the world. His association with this prestigious establishment speaks volumes about his culinary expertise.

What makes Aitor Zabala’s style of cooking unique?

Aitor Zabala’s cooking style is rooted in his Barcelona heritage and dedication to quality. He brings a passion for Spanish cuisine, creativity and a commitment to excellence to his culinary creations.

Why is Aitor Zabala considered an underrated chef?

Aitor Zabala is considered an underrated chef because, despite his remarkable skills and contributions to the culinary world, he remains relatively unknown outside of culinary circles. His talent and dedication deserve greater recognition.

What makes Aitor Zabala different from other chefs?

Aitor Zabala’s exceptional talent, culinary skills and ability to create unforgettable dining experiences set him apart from other chefs. His collaboration with José Andrés and his commitment to pursuing his passion rather than financial gain make him a truly unique and underrated chef.

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