If you live in Shanghai, or have visited often, there is no doubt you have heard of Willy and his popular Spanish tapas restaurant El Willy. Formerly located in the French Concession in an old villa, but now on the glamorous Bund waterfront strand, El Willy is a warm and welcoming place (just like Willy). It’s also very well recognised, having won numerous accolades in local Shanghai media and is also listed in the top 100 Restaurants in the Miele Guide.
If you have been to El Willy, you have no doubt seen Willy himself. He moves from kitchen to dining room, bringing his infectious energy, impish smile and laughter to all he comes in contact with. But while Willy keeps it light and free and easy, he is no lightweight. Willy’s distinguished background in Michelin-starred restaurants and even training at the infamous El Bulli very clearly sets him apart in Shanghai.
In one of my most recent conversations, I asked Willy what he has been making at home lately Willy said he favours simple dishes that highlight the ingredients, such as ceviche, simple pasta and gazpacho in the summer. Being a gazpacho addict, I couldn’t resist asking for Willy’s recipe and he gladly shared it. Now for you to try at home and enjoy, Willy’s gazpacho recipe.
9pcs medium-sized tomato
¼ of a white onion
½ of a green bell pepper
3 cloves of garlic
60ml red wine vinegar
25g day old bread
1 cucumber peeled
50ml extra virgin olive oil
5g diced green bell peppers
5g diced red bell pepper
5g diced cucumber
5g small croutons
Cut the tomatoes, white onion, green bell pepper, garlic, old bread and cucumber into big dices; put the vegetables in a bowl with the red wine vinegar and keep for 2 hours in the fridge.
Remove from fridge and blend the ingredients in a blender at high speed to make the soup. Put the soup in a big bowl, mix in the extra virgin olive oil and salt with a whisk, then keep the soup in the fridge for 1 more hour before serving.
Present 250ml of gazpacho in a bowl with a finishing dash of olive oil and pinch of fresh herbs, and a plate of diced cucumber, green and red bell peppers plus the small croutons.