SHOW COOKING: Little stars outshine their dozens of Michelin-starred teachers at Malaga’s annual Chefs for Children bash 

A SQUADRON of Spain’s top chefs have led their whisks into the annual battle to teach youngsters how to cook healthily on the Costa del Sol.

The 35 culinary geniuses came from all over Spain to support the Chefs for Children event in Benahavis today.

The majority of them with Michelin stars, they generously imparted their knowledge to the group of 150 children, many of them autistic.

Setting up on a shady terrace at the five star Anantara Villa Padierna hotel, they taught the youngsters how to use knives, grind up a guacamole and make delicious mini fruit tarts, among other dishes.

Carlos Maldonado and Ramon Freixa enjoy the fun at the Chefs for Children bash

Now in its sixth year, the chefs included Madrid’s trio of Michelin legends, Mario Sandoval, Ramon Freixa and Paco Roncero, all with two stars.

Sandoval, of Coque, told the Olive Press: “Any one of these kids could be inspired to become the next top chef.

“It’s great to bring Spain’s leading chefs together in this way for such a good cause.”

The event also included Nacho Manzano, with three stars, from Asturias and Fina Puigdevall and her two daughters Martina and Carlota Puigvert, whose famous Les Cols joint in Olot, has two stars.

Jose Carlos Garcia and Diego Gallegos

“It’s great to be down here again, particularly with my two daughters,” she said. “There is so much going on down in Andalucia these days. It’s a genuinely exciting place and the gastronomic scene is developing so fast.”

Leading the charge locally were Malaga’s finest, including Diego Gallegos, from Sollo, David Olivas, from Back, and Dani Carnero, from Kaleja. 

The province’s top chef, Benito Gomez, from Ronda’s two Michelin star Bardal, told the Olive Press he was ‘really proud’ to be representing the region again.

“It’s always an amazing event and especially important to teach youngsters both how to cook well and healthily,” he explained.

Málaga cook José Carlos Garcia added: “It’s a brilliant way to promote the best of Malaga, a city which is completely on fire these days!” 

All smiles: Paco Roncero with two superstar chefs in the making

One visitor, very impressed with his visit was Rafa Soler, whose restaurant Audrey’s has a star in Calpe, on the Costa Blanca.

“It is really important for us chefs to put something back and it doesn’t get more positive than a day like this.

The 44-year-old continued: “Valencia, like Malaga, is now developing so fast. Both regions are heavily influenced by the flavours of the Mediterranean and both are seeing huge growth from gourmet tourists.

“In fact I would say that around 70% of my clients are now coming from abroad to enjoy Spain’s amazing food. Events like this accentuate what we do well.”

This year, 55 of the country’s top chefs have been involved in the Chefs for Children events.

Francis Paniego gets stuck in with the mini chefs

Under the banner ‘Eating healthy is fun’, this year it is supporting the charity Autismo Espana and raising awareness of the condition.

The event was jointly-funded by Malaga Diputacion’s Sabor a Malaga and Benahavis town hall, with its Tourism chief, Scott Marshall, telling the Olive Press: “We are extremely proud to be involved.”

Tonight a menu degustation will be prepared by the group of local Malaga chefs.

Sponsored by Porsche in Marbella, wine is being provided by Bodegas Emilio Moro, while the ham comes from Joselito.

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