They don’t have restaurants or Michelin stars, “but there are no better cooks than my mother and my grandmother”. Who says that it is José Muiños Tabares de Nava, 30 years old from Tenerife who is the manager of Taian Table in Shanghai, a restaurant which holds 3 Michelin stars and the first green star of the French guide in the Asian country and which participated in the opening of a second restaurant in Guangzhou, which has already obtained two Michelin stars.
This young man from Tenerife studied administration and business management at the Complutense University of Madrid, but then decided to specialize. He studied a second degree, International Management of Tourism and Leisure Businesses, at the European University of the Canary Islands, which allowed him to spend three months at Les Roches Marbella and six months at Kendall College Chicago, two university centers specialized in hotel management. .
– How did the idea of devoting himself to the world of catering management come about?
“I’ve always been drawn to the world of hospitality; Somehow it’s been in my blood since my family ran the Hotel Camacho in Santa Cruz. But it was really a chain transition that happened without any plan. It all started when I went to Chicago and I was lucky enough to be able to work for six months as an intern at the Pierrot Gourmet restaurant at The Peninsula Chicago, which belongs to one of the hotel chains in world’s most exquisite luxuries. They were the ones who believed in my growth potential, giving me the opportunity to come to Shanghai to work in their hotel. I started as a Food and Beverage Business Management Trainee, exposing myself to the entire hotel restaurant operation, which gave me an in-depth knowledge of how the department operates. After almost two years, I was promoted to Senior Assistant Manager, Bar Operations, to fully take over the management of the hotel’s three bars and at the same time support the beverage service of the three restaurants and banquets. When I felt comfortable managing beverage operations, I decided I wanted to further develop my knowledge and refocus my career on restaurants. At that time, a friend advised me to look at the Taian table as they were looking for a manager and well, things didn’t go so badly since I’m here with them after just over a year”.
– Is there a history of cooks in your family?
“Of course, they don’t have restaurants or Michelin stars, but there are no better cooks than my mother and my grandmother. Without a doubt, they are also magnificent food managers, because when the family gathers in our beloved Porís de Abona, we add a few”.
– How was the adaptation to the Eastern world? Was it very difficult to work in a culture so different from ours?
“A lot of people talk about culture shock, but honestly, I haven’t had one. There are always ups and downs to being so far from our origins, but I opt for a positive philosophy that motivates me to do so. to live as an enriching experience. On the work side, it is certainly also a great opportunity to learn, because the working relationships and the way of working are very different from what I have experienced before. The truth is that China has a very rich culture and history that deserve to be discovered.
– What type of cooking is done in the restaurant where you currently work?
“We are a restaurant that could be described as fusion since with a broad base of European cuisine we choose to integrate oriental touches and local products”.
– What do you know about Chinese food culture?
“China is a country as big in size as it is in food culture, it’s impressive to see the great diversity they have and to be able to experience it. Above all, in terms of knowledge, I would highlight the treatment of the product and its culinary methodology, since this changes a lot compared to my experiences in Europe and the United States”.
– Have you considered returning to Spain or are you currently considering continuing to develop your professional life there?
“Complicated question. Without a doubt, it’s a question that I usually ask myself and that my relatives in Spain also mention, but at the moment I think I’m in a big step to continue growing professionally and I have to continue a little more “.
– What differences do you find between the restaurants of the Michelin Guide of Spain and the oriental restaurants?
“There are logically differences due to gastronomic culture, but the Michelin Guide evaluates according to the experience of its inspectors, whatever their nationality, and taking into account the concept of the restaurant, which from my point of view gives the truth to his assessments in a fair manner.
– Do Michelin stars have the same importance in the East as in Europe?
“It is certainly a worldwide recognition. Now, in China, the number of cities where there are restaurants mentioned by the guide is increasing, so the level of importance increases even more internally.
– Have you managed to slip into the restaurant a culinary recipe with Canarian touches?
“I tried to strain part of a recipe from my mum, but couldn’t because the dish ended up going the other way. Maybe one of these days I’ll try again, although when it comes to food creation I have great respect for our kitchen team and only help with details”.
– Have you prepared a Canarian dish for restaurants?
“Actually no, I don’t want to give you the wrong idea of our wonderful food with my possibly poor execution, but I made you some tacos, which with a little science still work, plus I was able to use my family’s guacamole recipe.”
– Do starred restaurants have a high production cost? As a manager, do you have to put a stop to the boss’s demands?
“Fortunately, we have a very efficient kitchen team in terms of managing production costs. Our Founder and Head Chef, Stefan Stiller, has extensive management experience and our Executive Sous Chef, Hana Zhou, is a cost control and vendor communication machine.
– What are the differences between running a “normal” business and running a restaurant?
“From my point of view, in any “normal” business and in a restaurant, it is about managing resources as efficiently as possible, the only difference is specialization and knowledge of the sector, such as construction, materials and the restaurant the ingredients”.
Taian Table: the chef who collects the stars
Taian Table is an independent restaurant created by Stefan Stiller, originally from Germany, but with extensive international experience. “Under his direction -says José Muiños- the restaurant has grown steadily since it opened five years ago, to the three Michelin stars that we just received a few months ago, as well as the green Michelin star that rewards sustainability in the operation of the restaurant 2021 has been a great year for us as we opened our second Taian Table in Guangzhou/Canton, a project I had the honor to support at the opening and after five months we have been recognized with two Michelin stars.” The Michelin Guide calls Taian Table “a staple of the city’s dining scene since 2016” and describes the venue “with counter seating that encloses an island where chefs cook, so diners can witness how each dish comes to life up close.The 10- or 12-course menu includes 8 dishes that change completely every 6-8 weeks.Diners then choose the rest of the menu from classics or specials. ial. The food is well executed, refined and original. Regarding the green star, the Michelin Guide includes a whole statement of intent from chef Stefan Stiller: “We source from sustainable producers and minimize the use of plastic, food waste and energy consumption. We also recycle where possible and urge suppliers to reduce packaging.