Meet the team

Áxel Smyth

The young chef Áxel Smyth Taracido had been developing the proposal for Auga e Sal in his hometown until now, where in just one year at the helm of the kitchen, he earned a Repsol Guide Sol (2021 and 2022) and a Michelin star (2022).

After studying at the Basque Culinary Center and working in kitchens as relevant as Casa Marcelo in Santiago de Compostela (Michelin Star, two Repsol Suns); As Garzas in Malpica, A Coruña (Michelin Star, two Repsol Suns); José Carlos García in Málaga (Michelin Star, two Repsol Suns); Gaytán Restaurant in Madrid (Michelin Star, Repsol Sun); Baluarte Restaurant in Soria (Michelin Star, two Repsol Suns), Hispania London & Hispania Brussels, or Miramar Restaurant in Llançá (two Michelin Stars and three Repsol Suns).

The last restaurant where Áxel was before landing at Auga e Sal was Restaurante Casa Elena in Cabañas de la Sagra (Toledo), where, while leading the kitchen, he earned a Repsol Guide Sol in 2020.

In 2022, he achieved 3rd place in the final of the 2022 Spain's Chef of the Year Contest held at Alimentaria (Barcelona) and emerged as the winner of the Nespresso Tapa of Spain 2022 competition held at Alimentaria (Barcelona).

Claudia Merchán Valdivieso

After studying gastronomy at the University of Cuenca, she pursued a Master's degree in pastry at the Basque Culinary Center (San Sebastián).

She worked in kitchens as notable as Can Jubany in Vic (Michelin Star, three Repsol Suns), Ricard Camarena in Valencia (two Michelin Stars, three Repsol Suns), and alongside Áxel Smyth at Casa Elena (Toledo), where they earned a Repsol Guide Sol, and at Auga e Sal (Santiago de Compostela), where they achieved a Repsol Guide Sol and a Michelin Star. She also participated alongside Áxel in the final of the 2022 Cocinero del Año Spain Contest (Barcelona), where they secured third place and won the 1st prize in the Nespresso tapa competition.

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