Chef Rafel Muria on revitalizing El Priorat

The young Spanish chef behind the restaurant Quatre Molins talks about opening in the often overlooked region of El Priorat and being awarded a Michelin star

The small region of El Priorat in Spain’s northeast has long been known for a superior winemaking culture, but is often overlooked next to more famous and established wine areas. Now, a new wave of high quality restaurants is bringing a boost to gastronomic tourism. One of the chefs who has caught the attention is Rafel Muria who with Quatre Molins has become the first in El Priorat to achieve a Michelin star.

How do you see the current gastronomic panorama of El Priorat?

The culinary picture in the region is improving every day; there are more refined restaurants, more local cuisine and more new projects that help to grow El Priorat as a brand. What is most characteristic about the region is the wine, so we try to help and collaborate with the winemakers; we aim to have the highest possible amount of local produce to help them thrive too.

 Why did you decide to open your first restaurant in the region?

As a wine region El Priorat has been famous for over 30 years and what we really wanted to do was introduce high end gastronomy within this very small region, which has been undervalued in the past since the winemakers started working the land here. We add these wines to our restaurants and try to add value alongside the cuisine.

How does it feel to be the first restaurant to be awarded a Michelin star?

We are really proud to of the work that has gone into achieving the star, our team‘s hard work and above all the way we have been accepted and welcomed in the area. It is important to remember that El Priorat is a scarcely populated area and we want to try and help in growing the population and the tourism sector.

What is the long-term ambition with the restaurant?

We think that Quatre Molins has already helped to elevate the profile of our region from our perspective in the kitchen. We have done some very important work to place the region as a high quality place for wine and food. Our aim is to just keep growing El Priorate and I believe that we are doing exactly that all together.

Tina Nielsen

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