Willy Moya “Before being a chef, I am a gourmet, which is the source of my instinct”

Willy Moya is from Madrid and his father was from Granada. He has spent much of his life in the kitchens and has just arrived, with all of his culinary art, at Lobo 8, the restaurant at the revamped Gran Hotel Inglés. He is also in charge of LobByto, the large hall that promises not to leave any guest or visitor feeling indifferent.

He is a reputed professional in Spain and abroad with a degree in Political Sciences and a sociologist, with the Gran Diploma in Cooking and Confectionary from Le Cordon Bleu. Throughout his extensive culinary career, he has stood out as the executive chef at the Hotel Alfonso XIII in Seville, the Cantinery restaurant in Istanbul, or as the chef and owner of the popular Poncio Triana restaurant in Seville, which won a Sun in the Campsa Guide and a Bib Gourmand in the Michelin Guide. Since December, Willy and his team have been at the helm of the kitchens at the Gran Hotel Inglés.

Willy, what is it about the Gran Hotel Inglés that catches your attention and, in particular, this new professional challenge?

One of the things that I like most about this challenge is its setting. The Literary Quarter is undoubtedly one of the most attractive neighbourhoods with the most flavour of Madrid. The commitment of the Gran Hotel Ingles to return it to its splendour and the research we have done to recover traditional recipes will be something to talk about and will once more make it an icon in the neighbourhood.

What type of cuisine can we find at Lobo 8?

I have always defended cult cuisine: the conception of cuisine as a culture. As can only be expected, my inspiration lies in legacy, in tradition, in the knowledge acquired from gastronomic maturity. The cuisine at Lobo 8 will be recognisable, but young and daring at the same time. Without forgetting that as art, our aspiration is to reach what cannot be seen, the intangible, to excite. For this reason, special attention will be paid to aperitifs and some emblematic dishes on our menu; such as “scrambled eggs with truffled pork”, “broad beans with Norway lobster and seasoned bacon”, “Iberian pork in Oloroso” or the well known “apple pie”.

What will culinary offer of LobByto be like?

LobByto is our most informal version of supine elegance. We aim to create a cosy and warm atmosphere of debate, with a laid-back offer, without neglecting the product, in order to make not only guests, but all clients feel at home, offering the best version of the most traditional and familiar recipes. You will be able to savour a stew every day, making the most of market produce. You will also be able to taste meatballs that will not make you long for those of your mother. And we have also dared to make a version of a squid sandwich.

In the afternoons, we will also have a selection of cakes and sweets to liven up afternoon teas. We have asked our friends at San Ginés to let us sell their churros so that our clients can enjoy churros in an unmatchable atmosphere.

Which typical recipes from Madrid are found on the menu?

Many of our dishes are inspired by Madrid recipes, but not only from the professional point of view, but also from the familiar perspective. Therefore, you can find everything from prawns in garlic to what is possibly the most traditional: meatballs. In order not to disappoint fans of the most traditional cuisine, I hope to create a new peregrination place for the famous patatas bravas.

What has inspired you to create this menu?

All chefs have baggage that we use when looking for inspiration. However, the strongest inspiration that I turn to in my creation process is my instinct as a gourmet. Before being a chef, I am a gourmet and I trust firmly in this. I always try to create the offer that I would personally like to find. On this occasion, I have only permitted myself to use the menu as a way of presenting myself, so I have humbly tried to show who I am and where I come from through the menu.

How are you going to set up the kitchen?

Setting up is always difficult, but the hardest thing is always finding the team. I believe that this team will practically become family and so I let my instinct take over. If there is not love at first sight, it doesn’t usually work. To start this project, I have opted for a team of 14 young professionals, who are eager to do something important. Starting out requires a big push so motivation and attitude take on a major role.

The Literary Quarter, like the rest of Madrid, is undergoing a very strong moment of gastronomic effervescence, how is Lobo 8 going to be presented in comparison with all of these competitors?

It is true that Madrid is experiencing a sweet moment and it appears that everything has been done in culinary terms, but what we want to offer at Lobo 8 is something totally new and different. It is not new as in original, although it is innovative, traditional and completely pioneering. As you can read on our menu; we set out to look through different eyes. We do not want to invent anything, although we do want to walk down the path again with the techniques and knowledge acquired over years.

We try to be as honest as possible, recovering everything that was good and that modernity has forgotten. There are certain recipes and techniques that have been lost due to their high costs or cut-backs for convenience and their flavours have varied gradually. We want to fill the gap of the classic restaurants of the past, which have been losing strength due to a lack of renewal. Lobo 8 will be, if it can be called this, the restaurant of “classic avant-garde” cuisine, with the consistency of the classic but innovative in terms of technique.

I understand my colleagues who incorporate products from all over the world to appear to be more contemporary and even include international recipes. However, we believe that originality and differentiation is marked by the land to which it belongs and its culture. I sincerely believe that the future of gastronomy is going down this road and even at the risk of making mistakes. I believe that our clients should be able to experience something really authentic.

Who would you like to cook the first dish at Lobo 8 for and why?

For my Madrid: this area brings back many memories with the Cortes nearby. My father was a politician in the transition in the UCD era. He was my biggest fan and critic, and he would have loved to have seen me at the helm of this great project. For this reason, I would have liked to make this first dish for him. Even so, my dream is for all of the clients who come to Lobo 8, to know each other and feel at home. At least, I am going to do everything possible for this to be the case.

The Gran Hotel Inglés and Lobo 8 will open their doors in March. Do you fancy a dish with authentic traditional flavour? We look forward to seeing you in Lobo 8 and LobByto.

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