Since a young age Josean Alija knew he wanted to be a chef, so at the age of 14 he started studying at the Leioa School of Restaurant Management. Three years later he started his professional career. He learned Basque cuisine at traditional restaurants and worked in several avant-garde kitchens, where he realized that he had to seek his own path. In late 1998 he started working in the kitchens of the Guggenheim Bilbao Museum, but when his cuisine was starting to take shape, a motorcycle accident left him in a coma for 21 days, on the brink of death.
He awoke without the senses of neither taste nor smell, the essential tools of any chef. He had to learn how to taste things again, to recognize flavours and aromas.
In 2011 he was able to fulfil his dream of having his own space: Nerua. Nature sets the pace of Alija’s cuisine, who adapts to each season without censorship to do the cuisine that he feels. A local cuisine that begins at the vegetable gardens, in the sea, and in the farms. Alija received 1 michelin Star and 3 suns in the Repsol guide, and in 2016 his restaurant reached the 55th position in the World 50 Best Restaurants list.