History

Carles Gaig was destined to be a chef from birth. He was raised in the Horta neighborhood of Barcelona where his family owned the Taberna d’en Gaig since 1869. Growing up, Carles was always helping out around the restaurant but it wasn’t until the 1970s when his mother’s blindness forced him to take over the reins of the Taberna. His mother and great-grandmother’s influences are still visible today in the great care with which he prepares their classic recipes – especially the cannelloni, one of his star dishes that has been on the menu since he started the business.

His passion for bringing together tradition and innovation led to the 1989 renovation of their traditional restaurant which they renamed Restaurant Gaig. Under this name his restaurant was awarded a Michelin Star in 1993. And many more accolades followed, such as the National Award for the Best Chef of 1999 from the Real Academia de Gastronomia.

In 2004, Carles, along with his wife Fina Navarro and their entire team, closed the doors of the legendary Horta restaurant and moved to the Eixample district in the heart of Barcelona. They opened a new restaurant, named simply Gaig, in the Hotel Cram where he further explored the blending of avant-garde and market cuisine. That same year he received the award for the Best Restaurant of the Year from the Academia Catalana de Gastronomia.

In 2004 Carles began advising La Cupula Restaurant in the Atlantis Bahia Real five-star hotel in Fuerteventura, Canary Islands.

The following year Fina Navarro, the maître, won the award for Best Dressed Table from Lo Mejor de la Gastronomia at the San Sebastian Gastronomic Conference.

In March 2008, Carles and Fina opened a new establishment, Fonda Gaig, on Corsega Street in the Eixample district of Barcelona where they resurrected many traditional Catalan recipes. That same year the restaurant received the award from Los Premios Nadal de Gastronomia for the Preservation of Catalan Cultural Heritage.

In 2010 Carles’s vision led him to the Barcelona international airport with Porta Gaig. Here he adapts his award-winning cuisine to travelers’ time constraints. The restaurant is in the ultra-modern Terminal-1 building designed by renowned architect Ricardo Bofill. The restaurant has gone on to be named the number one “Best Airport Restaurant Around the World” by TheDailyMeal.com.

Since 2013, Restaurant Gaig, the result of a merger between Gaig and Fonda Gaig, has been staying faithful to the roots of the Horta restaurant. In its opening year, Carles received recognition for his career from the Academia Catalana de Gastronomía.

Further expanding his vision Carles will open Ventana by Gaig in Singapore – a bit less formal and a bit more tapas-centric restaurant featuring his famous take on classic Catalan market fare. Ventana by Gaig is set to open in early July 2015.

Throughout his entire professional life Carles has participated in many conferences and conventions as a speaker. Among these are the San Sebastian Gastronomika convention, the World Gourmet Summit Singapore (2007), Alimentaria Mexico DF, and Alimentaria Barcelona. He has also taught courses in several hospitality schools and universities, such as the Culinary Institute of America in 2006 and Harvard in 2011.

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