Madrid (EFE).- Dabiz Muñoz, in charge of the three-star DiverXO, RavioXO (with a Michelin star), StreetXO and the GoXO food delivery service, lamented this Tuesday that “in Spain, for a chef to say that he wins money is not well seen, something that does not happen in the Anglo-Saxon world ”.
It has been at the Hopitality Innovation Planet (HIP) congress, which is being held in Madrid and in which the chef has participated in a talk with Damm’s Marketing Manager, Jaume Alemany, in front of a packed auditorium at whose entrance they have formed long lines to listen to the creator of the XO universe.
Muñoz has rejected the phrase that was repeated to him when he started, that a haute cuisine restaurant “had to be loss-making”, and has recognized that this is how DiverXO has been “for 80% of its 15 years of life”, since “it lost money annually and it was supported by other projects”, until in the pandemic it was suggested that each of their businesses should be profitable.
“If you have a world-famous restaurant that loses money and where people work too much, there is something that is not working well,” said the person who in January 2022 made the decision to raise the restaurant’s tasting menu to 365 euros.
“I figured if it wasn’t in demand enough to cost that, it shouldn’t exist; but it was not like that, the demand has risen. I think it has been very beneficial for other Spanish restaurants: if you take 200 establishments with a medium-high price, you see how 95 percent have increased the price, something that was necessary”, argued Dabiz Muñoz, who asserts that a restaurant “must have economic performance and be sustainable from the human point of view”.
Labor revolution, “pending gastronomic subject”
In fact, he added, he considers that the labor revolution is “the great pending gastronomic issue” to improve the situation of the teams and prevent the flight of talent to other sectors, as has been the case since the pandemic.
However, he has indicated that although “talking about effort and sacrifice lately is not very well seen among the young generations” and “excessive aspirational speeches do not help”, “to achieve great things great sacrifices are necessary”.
“The culture of effort has been misunderstood in my profession, it has more to do with dedication”, has acknowledged who continues to feel “hunger to achieve things” and keeps the desire to learn alive: “When I lack creativity, I study” .
Who defines himself as “disgustingly perfectionist and very obsessive” has defended the need to take care of mental health and has recognized the benefit of putting himself in the hands of a psychologist to stop having “a stormy and toxic relationship with the restaurant” and its environment.
They also put areas that are beyond their knowledge, such as management, in the hands of professionals -they have gone from two to 16 workers in the office- because “good management means being more operational, more profitable and more creative”.
Dabiz Muñoz: “I have somewhat lost the desire to say what I think because he is penalized”
He arranges public appearances and interviews little by little – “I have somewhat lost the desire to say what I think because it is penalized”, he lamented -, he has thanked the Michelin Guide for the “courage” of awarding him the third star in 2013, when DiverXO’s infrastructure was precarious and the new transfer of the restaurant was dated “between February and May 2024” to a much larger location in the La Finca de Pozuelo de Alarcón urbanization (Madrid).
“It will be a new DiverXO, which will have nothing to do with the current one. It was born with the vocation of being the most different restaurant in history, but this requires enormous sacrifice and work as well”, he asserted.
It is not something that daunts him, because he has always put his determination when he has lacked experience, such as when he worked as assistant chef at Abraham García’s Viridiana and arrived before him to perfect dishes. “In the end I managed to live up to my position, although my professional worth was not,” he recalled.