RavioXO by Dabiz Muñoz
Discarding the clothes (but not the hairdo) of the enfant terrible of gastronomy Dabiz Muñoz faces the world post-pandemic with new spirit, with the awareness of having lived on one's own skin the difficulties that the profession of cook and restaurateur comes with. Ups and downs, of which the chef of DiverXO and StreetXO - a street food eatery with long queues - is not a mystery, and indeed tells with the idea that his experience can be useful to others. The wisdom of the post-pandemic is the result of an important work on himself, accompanied by psychological support to overcome delusions and obsessions, first of all the exasperated perfectionism that led him to formulate GoXO, one of the most interesting delivery services of the Covid era - "I wanted it to be the best in the world," he says - and that marked the six-month postponement of the opening of his latest creation: RavioXO. New place of the XO group dedicated to pasts, of any tradition and origin. Together with him, Cristina Pedroche, who supports him in life but also in the management of businesses (today there are about 220 employees) that in the last year has grown (DiverXO has risen by 55 positions in the ranking of 50 Best and Muñoz has been recognized as The Best Chef) because of a new approach of the chef, less centralising and more able to delegate: "I understood that I want to have fun. I realised I want to be happy. I understood that I want to cook" he said on the stage of Identità Golose, underlining how the pandemic changed him: "I became a better chef, but perhaps also a better man". Changed as a person, he also changed his company. The one that was born in 2007, when DiverXO opened, just 27 years old "without knowing how to guide it, or bring it to success." But success then did arrive - with Three Michelin Stars won just six years later.
But work still had to take the right turn. It wasn’t easy. He talked about it at length, in his latest public appearances, to explain the change of pace of the XO Group, today thought of as a company "like Google or Facebook," with a different organisation and rules, in which to aim for a smarter organisation of work at every stage, calling the right professionalism not only in the kitchen but also in the entire management of the company, and devoting time and attention to what he does best: cooking. In this perspective also the much talked about increase of the menu of Diverxo, today at a whopping 360 euros (the most expensive in Spain): "professionalism, as the best ingredients, must be paid". Because, he explains: "a restaurant must be sustainable not only from a human point of view but also from an economic point of view". But it is not the only novelty for the flagship of the group, which in January 2024 moves to a new venue, leaving the hotel NH Eurobuilding (which had landed in 2014) to move to the outskirts of Madrid, a lush green area, in a huge structure: about 1,800 square metres in which 38 lucky (and high-spending) guests can enjoy the experience by Muñoz, who however has in mind a move also for StreetXO, at the end of September.
What’s on the menu at RavioXO
Returning to the present, Muñoz has instead just opened the doors of his new place, which looks at pasta mixing East and Italy, finding a point of communication between ravioli and dumplings, overcoming the concepts of gastronomic nationality and pressing once more, on the pedal of creative fusion and completely free from flags, rigidity and rules other than those of taste. A project, RavioXO, on which he has worked for a long time and which he has developed from the basics: to learn the technique he has called two people of the Hakkasan Group (among the world references of contemporary Chinese cuisine) and as many of the BigMamma Group, then went to the study of recipes: "each filling needs a different dough, as well as each cooking. The format, initially conceived as a tribute to DiverXO’s 15th anniversary, which since 2007 has also served as a dumpling, has become a tribute to pasta tout court. On the menu, among the dishes studied with the executive chef Pablo Sobrino, things like the soup with mortadella tortellini in spicy chicken broth, the veal rigatoni tonnato with a strong grill note, the jiaozi with Galician blond beef mole, and so on. But there is also a reference to some emblematic dishes of DiverXO: steamed bread with fried eggs and black pudding (2009), steamed sweetbread with death trumpet cream (2011) and stew of Hong Kong Madriz (2014), one for each year in which he won a Star. An itinerant DNA that mixes different suggestions and creates spells. To be paired with cocktails by Alberto Sánchez, executive mixologist of the group that worked at StreetXO in Madrid and London (opened in 2016 and now closed). The first in a long line?
RavioXO - Madrid - Pl. de Manuel Gómez-Moreno 5A + 34 917 648992 - https://www.ravioxo.com