Rock & Media Star Sergi Arola delivers a taste of excellence in the Swiss Alps


Swiss Alps welcomes with open arms the finest of every genre, especially when cuisine is concerned. If you love Mediterranean your taste buds will never be disappointed in the hands of chef Sergi Arola.

Oh for great Spanish cuisine…somewhere to go for the very best that Catalan and Madrid Chefs can inspire us with, including tapas of course.

When you look for stars you don’t normally get a Rock Star with character mingled in with your Michelin stars. But that’s exactly what you get with Sergi Arola. Once a rebel now a culinary trend-setter: a towering magician of authentic Catalonian and Mediterranean cuisine. This chef who has two Michelin stars can be seen on several television programs including Master Chef. 

A former musician turned MICHELIN Starred chef, Arola’s journey is a testament to the transformative power of creativity and a deep connection to his Spanish heritage. His transition from musician to chef was not a sudden pivot but rather a gradual evolution spanning several years.

He explained, “There was no specific point or moment; it’s been a transition of several years. I came to work at El Bulli (which was known as the world’s best restaurant before its closure in 2011) with Ferran Adria in 1995, and then I decided to make the leap to Madrid and settle on my own.”

What sets Arola apart from other MICHELIN Starred chefs is his background in music. He believes that his musical influences have profoundly shaped his approach to cooking and culinary creativity. He elaborated, “My attitude towards this profession at all levels has always tried to keep the rebellion alive and the nonconformity of my time as a pop-rock musician.”

For Arola, the kitchen is his stage, and the dishes he crafts are his artistic expressions, much like composing a song or performing. Hailing from Barcelona, a city celebrated for its rich culinary culture, Arola’s Spanish heritage plays a pivotal role in defining his culinary style. Although he left Barcelona before it became the gastronomic capital it is today, his connection to the city’s culinary genesis imbues his creations with authenticity and a deep understanding of Spanish flavors.

At his renowned restaurant, LAB By Sergi Arola in Sintra, Portugal, holding a Michelin star is a testament to his exceptional skills. The ambiance, adorned with exquisite artwork and boasting panoramic vistas of the golf course, accommodates just 22 guests per seating, setting the stage for the Catalan chef to showcase his refined and cultured culinary style. Arola masterfully balances tradition and innovation, drawing from his Spanish and Catalan heritage while incorporating avant-garde culinary techniques. He stated, “As a Spanish and Catalan, I have a gastronomic heritage I am very proud of. Additionally, my training and career have allowed me to acquire the necessary knowledge of both the great classics and more avant-garde cuisines.

Despite his fame as a MICHELIN Starred chef, Arola’s music career has not been forgotten. His nickname, “Rock Star Chef,” is a nod to his musical past, but he has chosen to keep his music and culinary worlds separate. However, hosting renowned musicians in his restaurants remains a special experience for him. Arola fondly recalled feeding bands like REM, Divine Comedy, Franz Ferdinand, Tom Waits, Lou Reed, and many others. “It is one of the most magical memories I have” he mentions.

Operating the only tapas bar in Verbier, Switzerland, within W Hotel Verbier, a MICHELIN Guide Hotels property, Arola faces the unique challenge of delivering an authentic Spanish tapas experience amidst the stunning backdrop of the Swiss Alps. Beyond sourcing specific ingredients such as Iberian pork, Arola believes that tapas is more about an attitude at the table than adhering to a strict recipe book. His long association with Valais and local producers has provided him with a deep appreciation for quality ingredients.

One of Arola’s signature dishes, the patatas bravas, perfectly encapsulates the fusion of his Spanish heritage and innovative culinary techniques. This dish, celebrated for revolutionizing the way tapas are enjoyed, marries the tradition of street tapas with haute cuisine. It was born from a reflection on how to maintain the simplicity of eating patatas bravas with fingers while preserving the uniformity of cooking and sauce proportions.

Looking to the future, Arola envisions the evolution of his culinary creations. He remains open to new challenges and projects, with a commitment to raising the gastronomic standard at Eat-Hola Tapas Bar in Verbier, Switzerland. His ultimate goal? To earn the restaurant’s first MICHELIN Star, a well-deserved recognition of his culinary excellence.

Sergi Arola’s culinary journey is a testament to the transformative power of creativity, passion, and a relentless pursuit of perfection. From his musical roots to his MICHELIN Starred cuisine, he continues to inspire and delight diners with his unique blend of Spanish heritage and innovative culinary techniques amidst the breathtaking backdrop of the Swiss Alps.

Both music and cooking require creativity, rhythm, and harmony. Arola translates these artistic principles from music into his culinary presentations and flavor combinations. He emphasized, “Creativity is overrated. What is more important is the way in which your culinary proposal responds to your way of being and your way of living, your connection with your customers.”

Happiness Comes First 

Sergi wants to make people happy. After two years of the pandemic, people need freedom and to enjoy camaraderie around the table. 

And in terms of his own life Sergi has found happiness in Sara Fort, a young woman from Roses (Girona) that he had admired by sight earlier. The sparks began to fly, and they have been together ever since. Sara is mother to his two daughters.

Happiness reigns all round – especially with a loving partner and family over tapas!

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