Gordon Ramsay has crowned Casamia in Bristol the Best Restaurant in the UK in a fiercely fought televised competition over nine weeks that saw restaurants across the country nominated by the public and then tested to the highest level.
A chic, understated Michelin starred Italian restaurant, Casamia prides itself on offering diners an experience rather than just a meal. On the programme Ramsay applauded chef-owners Jonray and Peter Sanchez-Iglesias for their modern and experimental approach and unusual ingredient combinations.
“Casamia is one of the most exciting restaurants in the UK. We’ve got two little geniuses. My god can they cook, impressive” – Gordon Ramsay.
Screened on Channel 4 on Tuesday 9th November, the final pitted Casamia against Indian restaurant Prashad in Bradford. But it was the young Sanchez-Iglesias brothers, supported by their parents Paco and Susan, whose culinary edge took them to victory in an adrenaline-filled final.
Jonray and Peter said: “We’re ecstatic to be Ramsay’s Best Restaurant 2010. We’ve worked so hard in the last four years to earn recognition and the fact that someone we respect so much thinks we’re worthy of this title is simply amazing. We’re not going to stop here; we’re going to work even harder, trying new ways to create spectacular food. Our ultimate aim is the Holy Grail: three Michelin stars.”
From its humble beginnings in 1999 as a family-run pizzeria in a sleepy Bristol suburb, Casamia has transformed into a cutting-edge, experimental Italian eatery since sons Jonray and Peter took over from their parents in 2006. Still only 27 and 26 years of age, their philosophy is always to be as creative as possible and to challenge the conventional. Self-taught, they avidly read cookbooks, questioning why chefs use different techniques and combine ingredients in the way they do.
Born and bred in Whitchurch, Bristol, brothers Jonray and Peter first developed a love of food from childhood holidays when parents Paco and Susan taught them to select mussels from the beach in Cornwall and clean and cook them back at the family caravan. Paco encouraged them to appreciate and look for the food that nature provides around them: dexterously demonstrating how to skin a rabbit and showing them how to forage for mushrooms and herbs. The brothers continue to pay tribute to their parents for their never ceasing support.
Today Jonray and Peter pride themselves on serving delicate yet delicious food at Casamia – they even use tweezers to place things on the plate. Their priorities are to use seasonal and local ingredients – and to bring nature into the kitchen.
Casamia is open for dinner Tuesdays to Saturdays and lunch on Saturdays only. In place of a traditional a la carte menu, diners choose from one of two tasting menus with five or nine dishes. Vegetarian options are also available. Casamia’s signature dish is an unusual beetroot risotto with pistachio, shaved fennel in white wine vinegar and sour yoghurt ice cream.
For more information and to make a booking, please visit the website: www.casamiarestaurant.co.uk