Cristian Solana, a Cantabrian chef who stands out in Rioja Alavesa

Jose Luis Perez

Sunday, November 5, 2023, 07:52

Cantabria also exports gastronomic talent and a good example is that of the young chef Cristian Solana (Cóbreces, 1996), who after participating in other projects in La Rioja, is now in charge, for four months, of the restaurant El Puntido de la Bodega Paganos Vineyards, from the Sierra Cantabria Group, located in the town of Paganos in Alava. A few days ago, he was proclaimed winner of the XV International Medieval Pinchos and Tapas Competition of the Network of Medieval Cities that was held in the town of Hondarribia. A triumph that confirms Cristian’s passion for gastronomy and confirms his mastery of technique and creativity, something that he forged from a very young age.

The son of hoteliers – his parents had the Brasa y Tapas restaurant in Cóbreces and currently run the Plaza Mayor restaurant in Santillana del Mar – Cristian trained at the José Luis González Hospitality School at the IESPeñacastillo. At that stage he participated twice in Chef Cantabria and won the award for best preparation with fish.

Alchemy, the winning skewer.

Alchemy, the winning skewer.


From there he visited the El Serbal and Solana restaurants, both with one star, before spending six months at Martín Berasategui. After a period at home, a job opportunity arose in La Rioja, where he has settled and is very comfortable.

Before starting at El Puntido, Cristian has worked at the Palacio de Samaniego restaurant and at the Piorola Group’s FyA restaurant, where he already served as head chef.

Before the conquest

Cristian’s cuisine, with a clearly gastronomic focus but closely linked to seasonal products, was reflected on this occasion in a skewer with ingredients typical of the period before the conquest of America. Alchemy evokes the art of transformation, using products that existed in the Middle Ages but with avant-garde techniques and representing the journey of fish from the coast to Laguardia in the Middle Ages. He uses foam of eggplant, anchovy, peas, capers and lemon zest

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