It was while doing a gig as a dishwasher, age 14, that Quique Dacosta discovered a love for the restaurant business. He has come a long way since then, and now runs his own two-Michelin-star temple to Spanish avant-garde cuisine. His creative development coincided with the blossoming of Spain as ground zero for Modernist cooking; since the closing of elBulli he has been considered one of the movement’s leading lights. Located in the tourist town of Denia, on the Costa Blanca, Dacosta’s eponymous restaurant makes the most of his region’s products—Senia rice, blood oranges, and fabulous seafood including sweet red prawns. The chef also creates magic through molecular transformations, such as gelatin “eggs” or peppers made from watermelon. Just like elBulli, his restaurant closes for several months each year so the team can develop new dishes and stay one step ahead.