Enchanted by the Roca

Pont de Ferr's chef Matias Perdomo explains the greatness of restaurant Celler de Can Roca

Chef Joan, pastry-chef Jordi and maître Josep

Chef Joan, pastry-chef Jordi and maître Josep RocaCeller de Can Roca restaurant trio, awarded on Identità Milano 2009. The three hermanos will be back at Identità with 3 individual ponencia, next February 10-12. Plus, Jordi will show up on Tuesday 12th at the S.Pellegrino/Acqua Panna stand together Matias PerdomoPont de Ferr 's chef and author of the story below

When I was asked to write about Celler de Can Roca, my first visit came straight to my mind: a feeling of emptiness, admiration, total amazement. And also a certain envy. Mostly, I remember a great happiness. Today, after five meals over a few years, the happiness has grown. Celler is not a restaurant, it is THE restaurant, and I doubt anyone would try to contradict me!

Palamos prawns (foto Perdomo)

Palamos prawns (foto Perdomo)

At the Roca’s you’re always enchanted by the aromas coming from the kitchen and you are so cuddled by the poems whispered in your ear that you forget you are at the Celler: in fact, you’re already immersed in an incredible journey. You enter from the exit and you start from the end, picking a fruit, the olives gently bursting in your mouth, blending with an anchovy; and in that bonbon, all their philosophy is enclosed: respect for raw materials, the play and complicity with the guest, the merge of sea and mountain, the sweet that embraces the savoury and tradition that looks innovation straight in the eyes, as if they were two lovers.

The first series is explosive: 5 passages through which you eat the whole world, like in a perfect triangulation between Xavi, Iniesta and Messi. Five passages and a goal, it’s one of the first amuse-bouche at the Celler, a journey around the world in five bites, the result of the inspiration the brothers acquire in their frequent travels. And this time it’s Jordi, not Messi, who scores, with an incredible overhead kick! (Jordi has included a dessert in honour of the magnificent Messi in the menu).

Bob bon from an olive tree (foto Perdomo)

Bob bon from an olive tree (foto Perdomo)

Once the amuse bouche are finished, the ball passes to Joan who, with incredible calm and precision, serves unforgettable dishes. I can’t forget the warm oyster in game (hare) Hollandaise sauce: a dish full of character! Then comes the moment of the Palamos prawns. A marvellous dish in which you eat the whole prawn: a very accurate preparation for a chef who keeps his feet on the ground but makes you fly really high.

The dishes are proposed with different wines, but not in the usual sense of wine-food pairing: I’d say food and wine are more like two tango dancers, a couple hugging with passion and dancing to the rhythm of music. The pairing of Joan and Josep are an exceptional music: each step is unique. Visiting Josep’s cellar is essential: you witness a passion so boundless that it is transformed into a demonstration of eternal love.

Matias Perdomo, 32 years old (photo Al Pont de Ferr)

Matias Perdomo, 32 years old (photo Al Pont de Ferr)

We then meet one of Joan’s most famous dishes, the Iberian pig. And here the whole stadium rejoices! The pig is cooked so that the skin is crispy and succulent. The dish is then composed with a terrine of mango, melon, beetroot, black garlic, onion and orange reduction and it is finished with a sauce of pork rind and Riesling. A clear demonstration of the eternal embrace that ties Joan’s food to Josep’s wines.

Three incredible hours thus pass, like in a dream you’d like to repeat again and again. I am touched just by the thought of Celler de Can Roca and the word “humbleness” comes to my lips. A word that is hardly used in the world of cuisine, but without which you can’t go anywhere. You can’t succeed from one day to the other. I will continue to find in them an endless source of inspiration.
I humbly suggest that every young chef should not be distracted by all the stupid things you see all around. We’re born chefs and we will die chefs, and in between there’s lots and lots of hard work, and Celler proves it. I would like to define what, to me, is THE restaurant but I don’t dare: words could not measure up to the emotions. When I come out of the Celler de Can Roca I never say “goodbye” but “see you soon”.


Chefs' life stories

Men who, for a moment, leave pots and pans to tell us their experience and point of view