Who is José Pizarro? The Godfather of Spanish cuisine in the UK.

Dentistry or food? Yes, believe it or not, Spanish chef, José Pizarro considered both career paths, but thankfully his love of food was just too strong and he had no choice but to leave his passion for dentistry at the kitchen door.


Originally from a beautiful, rural village near Cáceres, Extremadura, José has lived in London for almost 25 years, and is often described as The Godfather of Spanish cuisine in the UK.

In his early career, he trained in the top restaurants in Spain, before becoming head chef at a Michelin star restaurant.

José Pizarro began his career at Gaudi, moving to Eyre Brothers in Shoreditch before becoming the Executive Chef at Brindisa. In 2011, he opened his first restaurant José on Bermondsey Street, offering simple and traditional tapas. His restaurants now include José Pizarro at the Royal Academy, José Pizarro Broadgate, Pizarro, and José Pizarro The Swan Inn, while he has also published a line of regional Spanish cookbooks and is a regular face on our TV screens. Earlier this year, José opened his first restaurant outside the UK: José by Pizarro, at the Conrad Hilton in Abu Dhabi.

José believes in fresh, seasonal, quality ingredients and keeping dishes simple. He promotes the idea that great tapas is for all, and that home cooks shouldn’t be afraid of cooking several smaller dishes – it’s all in the prep & keeping it simple. The mantra of quality and simplicity along with José’s charm, enthusiasm and passion for Spanish food has led to José appearing on many of our favourite foodie TV programmes. A regular guest chef on BBC 1’s Saturday Kitchen, ITVs This Morning, Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch, Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose, Rick Stein’s Christmas, Food Network’s The Big Eat, and the popular ITV show - James Martin's Saturday Morning.

José’s talents don’t end there – his five books launched to great critical acclaim: Seasonal Spanish Food (Kyle Books, 2009), Spanish Flavours (Kyle Books, 2012), Basque (Hardie Grant, 2016), Catalonia (Hardie Grant, 2017) and Andalusia (Hardie Grant, 2019 - reprint 2023).

His sixth and latest cookbook - The Spanish Home Kitchen - launched in 2022 and it is a collection of over 80 best-loved recipes from the heart of chef Jose Pizarro's Spanish family home.


Awarded Chef Internacional Elle Gourmet Awards 2024

Awarded The Royal Order of Isabel la Catolica 2024


Chef of the Year 2022 - Food and Travel Magazine Awards

Chef of the Year 2019 - FT Magazine

On Trade Personality of the Year 2012 – Harper´s Magazine

Newcomer of the Year Winner 2012 – Food and Travel Magazine Awards

Restaurant of the Year Winner 2012 – Food and Travel Magazine Awards

Restaurant of the Year 2012 – World Food Awards

Extremeño de Hoy 2014

Pizarro voted in at #34 in the Restaurant Magazine Awards 2015

Number 39 of Harper´s Magazine´s list of Top 100 Most Influential People in UK 2017

Basque won Food & Travel Magazine’s Reader Awards 2017

Taste of London 2017 Best in Taste runner-up

On- Trade Personality of the Year 2015 – Rioja

Galardón Turístico Gruta de Aracena 2016

Best Mediterranean establishment 2016 – The Food Awards London

Galardón de San Lorenzo 2017

Patatera de Honor 2017

Awards of Tourism by El Periodico 2017

The Rosette Awards for the Culinary Excellence 2017 – 2018

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jose pizarro sherry jerez judge

"My restaurants are like my own house. It’s why I have open kitchens – so that my customers feel like they are guests in my home." Chef, art collector, and someone who appreciates beauty in many forms.