A Copa Con...Xabier de la Maza

Late is better than never.  With that sentiment in mind, I start my new Tuesday special: "A Copa Con..." Throughout 2013, I will sit with a different personality to feature them on my blog.  I'm so excited to introduce you to the people who I admire, who have played an important role in my life but also in the wider world.

First up? The man who had the idea for this series, my good friend Xabier de la Maza y Aramburu. What's he known for? Creating innovative projects, events, and even a pop-up bakery this past summer in Donosti. He also makes a mean Spanish tortilla, which he came over to my apartment to give me some tips on.  His secret? Long, slow poaching of the potatoes in lots of olive oil, which he then drains and smashes before adding the onions, peppers and egg. And, yes, he definitely is in the Onion And Pepper camp. We sat down to enjoy the tortilla, a red from Rioja, some crusty bread (with snacks of steak tartare, foie, and homemade ricotta).

What do you do?

Along with my colleagues Andoni and Nacho, I create projects in the world of food, culture and Internet.  I'm an economist, and every now and then I give classes at Spanish universities and collaborate with different media. In my former life I was a industrial economics researcher.

Something no one knows about you:

I don't like thunder.

Five things you always have in the fridge:

Water, eggs, jam, butter, and charcuterie.

The pintxo: do you prefer traditional or avant-garde?

Just make it good.

The state of Basque cuisine, in one word?

ALIVE.  The generations since the birth of 'New Basque Cuisine' have maintained the direction of the movement and they've made it better. And in addition to the creativity, they're also more and more business-minded, an important fact that is often forgotten in Spain.

What would you change about Basque people or culture if you could?

I'd like to change something that has been lost in some people: looking at the world outside and being curious.  We have always been a small country that has gone out in the world and managed to prosper. We have to regain this desire to always improve.

Thanks to Xabier and everyone who made amazing suggestions for other Tuesday ideas. Let's just say I have enough to last me a few years.

Have any questions for Xabier? Leave them in the comments section.