Dabiz Muñoz is one of the most oft-filmed chefs on the current culinary scene, famed as much for his undeniable culinary skills as for his rebellious, edgy appearance.

The creator of DiverXO in Madrid (with three Michelin stars to its name) has gone where few have gone before him, opening the now-famous StreetXO London in Mayfair – which initially went seriously over budget prior to launch and which teetered in terms of acceptance in its early days.

Today, of course, StreetXO is one of the coolest spots for trendy Londoners. Its dramatic interiors are seemingly inspired on the colourful and mysterious industry that is the circus. Neon light features are married to a sexy Japanese food bar, pressed against the open kitchen. In the middle of the restaurant, ‘standing bars’ are complemented by a few small tables at which diners wishing a little more privacy can enjoy conversation. This isn’t the place to go if you are seeking romance and intimacy, though. Vibrant, happening, urban vibes are what it is all about – after all, the ambience is but an extension of the Chef himself. Dabiz commenced his career under the tutelage of renowned chefs in Hakkasan, Nahm, and Nobu. They would spark his love for Asian cuisine – to such a point that his creations are usually classified as ‘fusion’, with a strong Asian influence. After honing his craft for five years in London, Dabiz opened his first restaurant, DiverXO, followed by StreetXO. The London branch was launched in 2016.

Like many great chefs of the world, Dabiz’s quest is one for perfection. He acknowledges that at the commencement of his career, his aim was to shock. This was evident as much in his food as with his image, which he carefully crafted. One of his most famous photo shoots sees him dressed in A Clockwork Orange garb and he sports his characteristic mohawk (a style he embraced when he was just 16 years old). In his early days, he often tells the press, he had a dish called Paris de los 70, which was presented to diners behind opening curtains, as though the dish were a show itself. Today, he says, he is far less concerned with the spectacle of cooking and far more interested in showing off his authentic skill as a chef.

Muñoz is relentless and he describes his typical day as waking up early, moving from one restaurant to another and of course, dreaming up (and experimenting with) new ways to delight his customers. He suffers from extreme perfectionism and openly admits that his wife – presenter Cristina Pedroche – often reminds him that he has everything in life he needs to be happy. Yet for the true visionary, trying to outdo yourself is a process that never stops. Dabiz admits that at one point, the anxiety of having to be successful spurred on anxiety. “I used to relieve it by eating and I eventually weighed 95 kilos. I didn’t know how to manage the pressure of success. I woke up one day and everyone was talking about me, it was a molotov cocktail,” he told El Mundo, adding, “I felt that everything I was doing was awful. They gave me one Michelin star… two… three… one prize after another but I always felt I didn’t deserve it. I was incapable of understanding that what I was doing was actually very good.”

The Chef says that he knows and accepts that it is part of his nature to remain eternally unsatisfied and the most he can do is try. Today, he is able to judge his creations with greater self-compassion. Being married to the love of his life helps. Dabiz tells the press that ultimately, Cristina is ‘number one’ in his life; the constant, unconditional presence that he does not have to work to deserve. He often speaks of their mutual love for travel and food, of his luck at having found someone who shares these two main passions. She also, one suspects, encourages him to do more than cook.

Recently, she attended the emotion-packed finish by Muñoz of the Valencia Marathon. He broke down as he reached the finish line, to cries of “You’re a f***ing champion, husband!” For someone so hardworking and obsessed with his craft, sport, balance, and travel, are wonderful reminders indeed that everyone – even someone with this level of genius – is human. We are more than our abilities, our work, and inevitably – our failures and successes.