Yolanda Morín |
The collective genius of the Roca brothers is well documented. The holy trinity of head chef Joan’s thoughtful but original cooking, pastry chef Jordi’s imagination-defying desserts and sommelier Josep’s beautifully considered wine pairings already adds up to significantly more than the sum of its parts, before you add in a vibrant family dynamic and a deep sense of hospitality.
But the reason this 55-seat contemporary Catalan restaurant is back on top of the world is the trio’s equal brilliance in ensuring that they never stop feeding their own (and their team’s) knowledge and imaginations through unusual initiatives.
In 2013, they premiered El Somni, a theatrical multi-sensory production that explored the interaction between food, music and art. In 2014, the entire team embarked on an ambitious and unprecedented restaurant tour across the southern US and part of Latin America, temporarily closing the restaurant back home in the meantime. Less publicly, El Celler is at the forefront of a ‘gastro-botanical’ research project called Terra Animada that is cataloguing rare wild species with the aim of reintroducing them into our food systems.
None of the above examples would matter, of course, if they didn’t feed back into the evolution and progression of the dining experience at El Celler de Can Roca. A meal in the tranquil glass-walled dining space is at once comforting and yet gastronomically challenging, the food simultaneously artisanal and technical, with references to both the traditional and the avant-garde. Crucially, this is a restaurant that has never forgotten its humble roots, its sense of familial warmth, or the need to serve remarkably delicious dishes and outstanding wines.