Félix Paniego, the patriarch of the bi-star restaurant El Portal de Echaurren, in Ezcaray (La Rioja), has died this Tuesday at the age of 96, a bad news that has generated great sadness in the world of gastronomy.
The funeral of the father of the saga of brothers who run this historic La Rioja establishment took place yesterday at 5:00 p.m. in the church of Santa María la Mayor in Ezcaray.
It was Francis Paniego, son of the deceased and cook at El Portal de Echaurren, who announced on Tuesday on his Instagram profile that his father had passed away after a "long and full life, surrounded by love and also giving love in abundance."
The patriarch had suffered a stroke last November that forced him to enter the San Pedro de Logroño Hospital. "Felix is very aware that he began to play the discount period a long time ago. He knows it and he continues to want to go out and feel and breathe the fresh air of Ezcaray," his son said then.
Francis Paniego, who also has a Michelin star at the Hotel Marqués de Riscal, in Álava, is in charge of the kitchen at the family restaurant in Ezcaray, while his brother José Félix is the sommelier and his sister Marisa looks after the room.
"He has been a good husband, a good father, a good grandfather and a good friend to his friends. Extremely courteous, affable and polite to everyone, he knew how to earn people's love and respect," the son recalled on social networks.
And he added: "I could highlight hundreds of anecdotes and moments from his life, but above all we are left with his way of understanding life as a couple with Marisa, together they formed an exemplary and wonderful team that fills us with pride for what they have achieved in the family and work plan.
Marisa Sánchez, mother of the chef of the family restaurant and wife of Félix Paniego, passed away in 2018. The matriarch was distinguished in 1987 with the National Gastronomy Award and in 2010, already retired, received the Gold Medal for Merit at Work and a year later the Gold Medal of La Rioja.
This cook was the fourth generation of a family that in 1898 converted a small stagecoach inn into a hotel and restaurant that today is a benchmark for Rioja cuisine.
"We are certain that our mother and her children, Luis and Marta, are waiting for him to dance again. We know that now they are all looking at us from heaven, we will work to make them proud of us. Thank you father for this enormous example that you have given us", ended Paniego.
The chef has also thanked them for the expressions of affection that have come to them both from the world of gastronomy and from friends and clients. Gastón Acurio, Andoni Luis Aduriz, Albert Raurich, Pedro Subijana, Eneko Atxa or the Arzak family are some of the chefs who have expressed their condolences.