Paco Budia: a Budding Economist Turned Chef

Alessandra Meldolesi
copertina paco budia

The latest talent launched by Martin Berasategui is Paco Budia. An economics and business student who started cooking behind his family's back. Today he holds a MICHELIN Star.

The Story

With his twelve Michelin stars, Martin Berasategui is Spain´s most-awarded chef, as well as the third in the world (and he´s just opened a gourmet hosteria!). All of this is a sign of the striking redhead’s style but also of his undoubted skills as a mentor and talent scout. His latest success: 33-year-old Paco Budia, who started weeks ago at his Etxeco Ibiza restaurant.

Born in Cordoba, Andalusia, Budia was studying Economics and Business when he started cooking with a chef friend at Taberna El Olivo. "I'm a very restless person, and college was chaining me. My mother began to be surprised that I came home smelling of food, and eventually, I confessed that I had dropped out of school and was working as a cook." Within a few months of that choice, he started an apprenticeship at Lasarte with Martin Berasategui, who promoted him to pastry chef, turning an 8-month internship into 5 years of work. That was followed by another five-year stint at the Nassau Beach Club in Ibiza as a chef, plus a couple of seasons here and there, touring a few kitchens and a bit of the world. Then his master's irresistible proposal arrived.

"We opened Etxeco Ibiza in 2019, and it was a complicated three years. In 2020 and 2021, covid hit us; 2022 then was the first full year with an eight-month season. So, the star surprised us," he confesses. "It was very exciting because although I am in the picture, there is a team of 22 people working in the restaurant, in addition to the people from Lasarte. The guide's inspectors look for certain requirements in the kitchen and in the dining room, which are the responsibility of the whole team. We work for Martin Berasategui, and everything must come out perfect every day. Not for the Michelin Guide, but for the people who come to visit us."

Budia's cuisine is Mediterranean with Basque, Andalusian, and fusion touches. It is complex and thoughtful, allowing the hotel’s patrons a lot of choices from the extensive menu, such as signature Galician fillet with olive chlorophyll, cheese bonbon and Iberico air, and red shrimp tartare with ajo blanco. "I work for the world's top chef and one of the best people I've ever met. You learn little by little as you cook, and over time, I, at 30, continue to study as does Martin at 60.”

“But first, you must have a method of working and be neat, organized, respectful, clean and clear-minded. We cooks are passionate about what we do. We spend many hours locked in the kitchen under great pressure, cooking together with our team, our family. There are hard days and easier days, but the work is rewarded. And if it doesn't happen, you just have to work harder."


Find the article here

Photos: @Etxeco Ibiza

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