Celebrating World Tapas Day with Marcos Razeira
World Tapas Day was celebrated across the globe on June 16. To honour this day, we caught up with Le Cordon Bleu Sydney alumnus Marcos Razeira who has a passion for cooking - and eating - Spanish food. Since graduating from a Certificate III in Commercial Cookery in 2015, the 35-year-old has worked for some of Australia's most well-known restaurants, including Rockpool Bar & Grill in Perth and Neil Perry's Rosetta Ristorante in Sydney. He is currently working at Hotel Casa Gracia in Barcelona, where he oversees the restaurant, bar and functions.
How did your culinary journey begin? What made you want to become a chef?
Growing up, I was always exposed to food and the preparation of it. Throughout my childhood I would set up the charcoal and cook churrasco for the family, but I started professionally cooking in 2013 when I moved to Sydney. While studying English, I started work at a Brazilian cafe in Bondi. That’s when I realised cooking was what I wanted to do as a career.
Why did you want to work in Spain? Have you always had a passion for Spanish cuisine?
It was always a dream to live and work in Spain. I had already lived in Italy and wanted something new, and Spain was on my list. After working as a Sous Chef at Rockpool Bar & Grill in Perth and Jr Sous Chef at Neil Perry’s Rosetta in Sydney, it was time to go home and visit my family overseas. When the borders closed during the pandemic, I was stranded and couldn’t come back. I took this as an opportunity to work in Spain and landed a job at Casa Gracia in Barcelona where I take care of all the functions, restaurant, food and bar. It’s an amazing place. I am planning to come back to Australia soon and begin work at Neil Perry’s Margaret restaurant.
When you’re not in the kitchen, where can we find you?
I am always eating out in restaurants. I use it as an experience to improve myself as a cook. Aside from that, I am a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioner.
What do you think makes ‘good’ tapas?
Simplicity, freshness and tradition.
If you had to eat one tapas dish for the rest of your life, what would it be?
That is hard. Today it would be Mariscos a la Marinera – freshly opened mussels in a strong and red dark fumet. But tomorrow, I would give you a different answer.
What are some other popular tapas dishes that are a must-try?
Pan con tomate, calamar a andaluz, anchovies and its fried bone, bombas, croquetas, pimientos padron…the list is infinite. Everything is extremely fresh and the terroir is magic. Literally everything is good.
How has tapas evolved over the years? Is tapas in Australia similar to tapas in Spain or has it been westernised?
Tapas doesn’t evolve in that way. The good tapas bars in Barcelona are mainly in the old suburbs, usually where the city started. The bars have the old wooden barrels of housemade vermouth, the waiters set the rules and not the clients, and the energy and atmosphere in these places are unique. I don’t know any place in Australia quite like Spain to have tapas. I think it is part of our job to travel and immerse ourselves in different cultures and cuisines to get to know the real experience.
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