Ten years alongside Ángel León as head chef at Aponiente earned him respect in the profession. He consolidated this with his own personal adventure afterwards.
Born in Jerez de la Frontera in 1984, Juanlu Fernández began work at the age of 13 in a bakery, his first contact with the ingredients that would form the basis of his learning process. After that, an artisan pastrymaker’s, where he broadened his vision and discovered his interest in cooking and the desire to learn more about it. At 17, he went to work in the kitchen at the Hipotels chain in Chiclana, and fell in love with the adrenalin of stoves and cookery as a profession. A year later he met Martin Berasategui and moved to Lasarte to learn alongside the Basque chef, with whom he digested all he could on technique, precision and determination. At 21 he went to Tenerife to go on working with Berasategui, learning more about cooking, management and leadership on a daily basis. Aged 23, he went back to Cádiz to a senior post at Aponiente as head chef.
During the Aponiente years he took over the group’s gastronomy management, and was the man behind Ángel León in all his achievements. Aged 33 he decided to branch out on his own, and opened the LÚ Cocina y Alma restaurant in his home town. LÚ is Juanlu’s maximum expression as a chef, and here he offers French-based cuisine, an academic cuisine “which has been partially lost amid today’s state-of-the-art, the kind of cuisine I want to retrieve and update with an Andalusian touch”.
LÚ was awarded its first Michelin Star in less than one year.