Analysis

El Celler de Can Roca Exhibition: from the Earth to the Moon

You still have a month to catch a flight to Barcelona and visit this exhibition.

Organized by the Generalitat de Catalunya in recognition of the projects carried out by the Roca brothers, owners of the “El Celler de Can Roca” restaurant, in favour of Spanish and international gastronomy, this exhibition coincides with the Year of Gastronomy and Tourism in Spain and Catalonia’s nomination as the first European Region for its gastronomy.

While my friend Alessandra and I were wandering around the streets of Barcelona looking for the Sagrada Familia, we ended up in front of “Palau Robert” (Passeig de Gràcia, 107 08008 Barcelona) and curiosity brought us inside to discover the “El Celler de Can Roca: from the Earth to the Moon” exposition, a name that clearly reflects the inherent dreaming soul of the Roca brothers.

Just the day before at the Parabere Forum, we listened to Joan Roca’s speech about his idea of sustainability and his projects.

If you are a gastronomy lover but you do not have a clue about how a (high level) kitchen works, you might think you have landed in a different world: it could be difficult to understand every piece that composes the puzzle in the creation of haute cuisine.

 

Harmony between traditional flavours and modern techniques

Where does the inspiration to create a recipe come from? What ingredients do we have to choose? What is the message behind every dish? How do we reach the right balance between taste, beauty and techniques?.

Finding three brothers working hard and harmoniously in the same restaurant is uncommon but, surely, this is their strongest asset.

Their three Michelin stars restaurant is located in Girona and it is ranked second in “The World’s 50 Best Restaurants” of 2016. Joan is the head chef, Jordi the pastry chef and the sommelier is Josep.

In the cuisine, they successfully melt harmony and traditional flavours with modern techniques, the product of a continuous investigation committed to innovation and creativity. For this reason, they established their own innovation and research centre, La Masia I&R, an old farmhouse renewed for training and development. “I&R’ stands for “innovation, interpretation, research, revolution”: training courses such as “bottle corks: history and use”, “basics of botany” and “creativity procedure” can be found alongside experiments on new cooking methods.

 

Roca brothers’ highlights

There are three other things worth mentioning about them:

First, through a transversal vision of the creative process, the restaurant works with both scientists and farmers, technology and nature, looking at product and sensorial anthropology.

El Somni, the first multisensory gastro opera ever performed, involved a two-year creative work and experimentation between the brothers and more than 50 artists and sensory experts.

Second, the brothers created a new eco-friendly project called “RocaRecicla” that bets on sustainability and recycling. This new project consists of recycling the great amount of glass used daily at the restaurant into flatware and objects for the restaurant itself and other projects.

Third, the restaurant is leading a botanical research called “Terra Animada” that has catalogued, so far, more than 3000 wild species for their recovery and reintroduction in gastronomy, while pursuing the objective of educating society on the nearby natural environment and its richness to awake ecological awereness.

After listening to all these inspiring projects, I keep wondering about the future of gastronomy and its role in our society. What is the role of a chef in 2017? What is the key of success? Is it possible for a chef to find a balance between fame and social responsibility without taking part to a “TV show cooking program”?

Among the Roca brothers’ favourite proverbs, there is the following:

If you want to travel fast go alone, but if you want to travel far you need to go with others

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Photo sources: http://palaurobert.gencat.cat | http://cellercanroca.com