Atrio restaurant (Cáceres)

Juan Antonio Pérez (Casar de Cáceres, 1961), head chef at the Atrio restaurant, is the chef that has revitalised cookery in Extremadura through his “signature cuisine, that is always based on intuition”, in his own words. At the age of 18 while he was studying Fine Arts, Toño, who had discovered working in the kitchen at his father’s cake shop, definitively decided to go into cooking. Together with José Antonio Polo, who is in charge of the dining room and the wine cellar (one of the best in Spain, endorsed by the international awards it has received for its spectacular wine menu), he has performed a real miracle in the city in Estremadura that is a World Heritage Site.

A disciple of Juan Mari Arzak and Alfonso Dávila at Jockey, and a passionate admirer of Frédy Girardet, he is considered to be an artistic and creative chef, although he always bears in mind that he is based in Extremadura, a region where a sturdy simple kind of cooking always met with success.

All the great products from Extremadura, such as ham, Torta del Casar cheese, lamb, wild products, Triguero asparagus, testicles, mushrooms, paprika, oil or game form part of his recipes, along with local fish, such as tench or carp. However, above all, what really stands out is Toño’s creativity, hedonism and love for things done properly. When he won the Spanish Young Chefs Championship, he represented his country at the Bocuse d´Or 1993. He won the National Culinary Award for Best Chef in 1995. In 1998 he won another National Culinary Award for Best Restaurant Menu Graphic Design. Years later he won the National Culinary Award for Best Publication, for the book, “Gusto y Gustos de Extremadura”.

Since 2003 he has had the famous “Grand Award” for the best wine menus in the world, presented by the prestigious American magazine Wine Spectator that no other Spanish restaurant has ever received. Atrio has obtained three Suns in the 2006 Campsa guide, two Michelin stars and a score of 9.5 in Gourmetour. Altair & Adebarán, his subsidiaries in Mérida, the capital of Extremadura and Badajoz, each obtained a sun and a Michelin star.