José Pizarro is Chef and owner of Jose and Pizarro in London, his eponymous tapas bar and restaurant respectively.
Dentistry or food? Yes, believe it or not, Spanish chef, José Pizarro considered both career paths, but thankfully his love of food was just too strong and he had no choice but to leave his passion for dentistry at the kitchen door.
Originally from Talavan, a small town in Cáceres, José has now lived in London for over 18 years, and is often described as the Godfather of Spanish cooking in the UK. Jose spent his early years in London working at some of the city’smost prestigious Spanish restaurants including Eyre Brothers, Brindisa and Gaudi. In 2011, José opened his first solo venture, José Tapas Bar on Bermondsey Street, a small and cosy venue, inspired by the bustling tapas bars of Barcelona. The daily menu depends on what looks good at the market on the day and it also serves an array of delicious Spanish sherries to compliment the dishes. Jose has since gone on to open Pizarro, just a few yards from José Tapas, and José Pizarro at Broadgate Circle.
José believes that tapas is for all, and has appeared on many of our favourite foodie TV programmes. A regular on BBC 1’s Saturday Kitchen, José has also appeared on Sunday Brunch, Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose, Rick Stein’s Christmas and Food Network’s The Big Eat.
José’s talents don’t end there though – his first two books, Seasonal Spanish Food (Kyle Books, 2009) and Spanish Flavours (Kyle Books, 2012) launched to great critical acclaim. His latest book, Basque (Hardie Grant, 2016), is a marvelous journey showing off the amazing food of this region. It’s a feast for the eyes as well as the senses! In 2017, Basque was nominated for the Food and Travel Awards ‘Book of the Year’.
In 2014, José was voted one of ‘100 Españoles’ – a hugely prestigious award which showcases the top 100 Spaniards around the world, based on how they have brought their talents to the masses and how they have shown their Spanish pride and love of the country through their work. José loves nothing more than flying the flag for his homeland, so this award was particularly close to his heart.
José is a regular on the food festival scene, and was most recently found at the stoves at some of UK’s favourite events, including The Big Feastival, Taste of London, Meatopia, Aldeburgh & Padstow.