Situ’d in the fair city of Girona, El Celler de Can Roca needs little by way of intro. Helmed by the brothers Roca, Joan (head chef), Jordi (head pastry chef) and Josep (sommelier), the 30-yr-old resto has garnered 3 Michelin stars and accolades like ‘world’s best’ for an extraordinary molecular experience that is as surreal as it is modern.
Nabbing a seat at the temple of gastronomy is as tricky as bagging a date with Fassbender, but this summer, a select few Amex-wielding Hong Kongers were able to dine with the brothers three at The Peninsula’s Starck-struck Felix. We caught up with Joan, Jordi and Josep between (all 14) courses for a quick chat.
Describe your approach to food and wine?
Jordi: There is a creative triangle with the three of us – we complement each other. When it comes to creating the menu, Joan is involved throughout the entire menu and I am ‘the sweet cuisine’. Josep is an expert in gastronomic memory – drawing on the world of wine, he uses his knowledge to provide us with many ideas for ﬂavours and associations. Our combined opinions create harmony across the whole menu, providing a structure.
What are your favourite ingredients to work with?
Joan: Our kitchens and store cupboards at El Celler de Can Roca are brimming with a multitude of unique, unusual and rare ingredients. However, the amazingly complex flavours of simple ingredients like a good olive oil and seasonal herbs are the ones that excite me the most. Understated but at the same time versatile, it is these that are fundamental to creating so very many of the dishes that we serve in the restaurant in Girona. These are the ingredients I love to cook with, day in, day out.
What do you think of Hong Kong’s dining scene? And where have you enjoyed eating?
Josep: This trip to Hong Kong has been a fantastic opportunity to truly immerse ourselves in the flavours and culture of the region – there really is no place like it. There are so many places [to choose from], however if you forced me to pick our favourite, we’d have to say the iconic Wan Chai Market. It’s a true gem, situated deep in the heart of Hong Kong and, for us, perfectly encapsulates the union of cultures from across Asia – both from a culinary perspective for its exquisite street food, but also for the sense of wonder and intrigue waiting around every corner.
What type of food do you like to eat on your day off?
Joan: For me, I love to eat simple food with humble and rustic flavours. For example, when I am not in the kitchen, I enjoy cooking and eating rice dishes that are built from a modest base. It’s this base that can be transformed into so many things by adding an array of very simple flavours. To me, this is perfection.
Where’s your favourite place to eat in the world?
Josep: That is an easy one! Our mother’s restaurant in Girona.
24-hours in Girona – what are the must-dos?
Jordi: There are so many things to see, do and experience! However, a must is a stroll through the old town. There are few things better than spending a warm afternoon discovering the city for yourself, slowly becoming immersed in the monumental historic heritage of its architecture, street life and traditional Catalan cuisine.
Who are your 3 fantasy dinner dates (dead or alive)?
Joan: First would be my granny Angeleta. It would be a privilege to show her what we have created at El Celler de Can Roca and share with her the realisation of a lifelong dream. The second one, a table with Antoni Gaudi, Salvador Dalí or Miró. And the third? Probably the most surprising, but it would certainly be Leonardo Da Vinci. A true creative genius.
Joan, Jordi and Josep Roca were in Hong Kong for the El Cellar de Can Roca residency at The Peninsula Hong Kong, hosted by American Express exclusively for their Centurion cardholders.
El Celler de Can Roca, Calle Can Sunyer 48, Girona. +34 972 22 21 57.
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