Chef Joan Roca’s Jewels … By Margaux Cintrano
Can Suyer 46
Reservations Highly Suggested. www.cellercanroca.com
Telephone. 34. 972. 222. 157
On a recent trip to the Girona Capital in northeastern Spain, I have had another journalist’s dream come true with the opportunity to interview Joan, his brothers, Jordi and Josep and dine at their beautiful stone manorhouse restaurant nestled amongst lush herbal botanical gardens. This is a restaurant in which one nourishes their soul and saturates their senses. A visit to Restaurant El Celler Can Roca requires a willingness to suspend the antiquated notion that eating is a fundamental basic of life, something we do in order to survive.
This venue and its’ star Chef Joan Roca, and multilingual staff are going to provide you with one of the most memorable and intellectual dining experiences you have ever had on the Iberian Peninsula.
FACE TO FACE WITH JOAN ROCA …
Margaux. Tell us, what and or who inspired you to become a chef.
Joan. Firstly, ancestral heritage has bestowed my brothers, Sommelier Josep, Pastry whiz Jordi and I with epicurean bloodlines. My earliest memories have been with my mother Monserrat Fontane, in the family kitchen. She wasn’t just cooking for the family, she was preparing for her customers at my parents traditional Catalan restaurant. It is of no surprise that all three of us have landed up in the restaurant business. After attending culinary institute in the Girona Capital, my two brothers and I opened El Celler Can Roca, right next door to the family venue.
At the very humble beginning, the restaurant was cradled into a very constricted space and we could barely turnaround in the kitchen. The decor was totally homespun, modest with no frills. Furthermore, vocation as I have always enjoyed working in the kitchen both as a Chef and an observing apprentice.
Margaux. Tell us about your carte.
Joan. Since our cartes change seasonally and monthly, I am going to tell you about the bill of fare called Jewels. This menu is a collaboration with one of our neighbors, Jeweler Enric Majoral of Joieria Majoral at Tarres Nou 18, Girona. A variety of techniques have been employed to fashion and design a taste tester’s carte based on the latest jewelery on the Catwalks, similar to Canadian Architect Frank Gehry’s titanium strips used at Hotel Marques de Riscal however, the difference is, that these chocolate treats are extraordinairely edible.
Mar. Tell us about your awesome location as of December 2007.
Joan. In December 2007, we have culminated one of our greatest objectives, the opening of our new 280m2 restaurant catering corporation and herbal gardens along with our 45m2 wine cellar.
Mar. How would you describe your culinary philosophy.
Joan. I respect high standing traditional Catalan traditions, however, I am not at a standstill in my culinary style. My successful dishes are due to cautious attention, architectural measurable balance, color and design. Additionally, all my plates contain the elements of savoury, salty, sweet, and sour notes, all in total harmony and a variety of Persian Empire VI century re/engineered cooking techniques including gold, copper and silver foils for layering and varying temperatures with sous vide baggie cooking.
Margaux. Thanks again for your breathtakingly wonderful dinner and enjoyable interview …
Please note this was a 3 hour interview in Spanish and was taped.