The Catalan two-star chef Fina Piugdevall has dedicated herself entirely to an uncompromising ‘zero-kilometre natural cuisine’. Her restaurant Les Cols (Catalan for ‘cabbage head’) is located in an old country house in Olot, her birthplace in the province of Girona, about a hundred kilometres from Barcelona. It is arranged like a heavenly, transcendental gem. She works exclusively with a very particular vision of products that can be found just on her doorstep, in the Northern Spanish volcanic area of Garrotxa: buckwheat, Vall d’en Bas potato, sweetcorn, poultry (chicken and duck), ‘fesols de Santa Pau’ (a small white bean), ratafia, the ’Olot tortell’ (a kind of ring-shaped cake or doughnut), pork and sausages, wild river trout, snails, wild boar, truffles, sweet chestnuts, turnips, wild mushrooms, herbs and even flowers.
The 53-year-old chef gives them a different meaning – the presentation of her dishes plays with the emptiness of the dish: the tradition/avant-garde contrast. ‘I try to establish the relationship between the beauty of a cuisine of the rural landscape and seasonality; simple but essential; austere and humble but intuitive, intimate and authentic. A cuisine that should become a reflection of the way we are’, is how she describes her philosophy.