calle de Can Sunyer, 48
Three brothers, three stars. And not only the Michelin ones. At Celler de Can Roca, sancta sanctorum of vanguard cuisine, Jordi, Josep and Joan (necessarily in ascending order of age) divide the restaurant among themselves in the same way as nerves design the geography of sense. The mucosa through which we perceive the warmth of alcohol happened to Josep, between the side fungiform papillae of Joan, the chef responsible of the savoury dishes, and the frontal ones of Jordi, the pastry chef. This teamwork carves the pleasure of the lucky guests.
That of Josep, in fact, is not the profession of the classic midfielder. In ballet, one would speak of a rare pas de trois, an intertwining of muscles and pirouettes with variable roles, implying the highest harmony. The same that, starting from the games played in the courtyard in front of the family restaurant, developed in a daily handover between cellar, kitchen and pastry workshop. This was synergy that with Joan knew no hesitation: after attending the Escuela de Hosteleria in Girona, since the beginning, that is since 1986, he sided Josep in the dining room of the Celler.
After perfecting himself beside famous wine producers and oenologists, such as Josep Lluis Perez Verdu of Mas Martinet, Josep structured the cellar of Celler following the guidelines of his 5 favourite wines: Riesling, Champagne, Bourgogne, Sherry and Priorat (and it is so huge that, to transport the wine list, a special cart is necessary). But if you ask him what kind of drink could the Celler be, he has no doubt: a Cava, a humble wine, obtained from local grapes and matured under the sun of the Mediterranean sea, just like the family restaurant, but undergoing a second chance thanks to a re-fermentation and maturation similar to that at which the trio busily work. Without crying over the spilt wine, since his suggestions have inspired some important experiments: the texturing of wine as an ingredient in the dish (even Cava, transformed into sauce without renouncing the perlage), or its vaporisation at the table, in order to obtain express wine aromatised dishes thanks to the freeing of the volatile aromas.
Josep Roca was born in Girona in 1966. He’s at Celler, with Joan, from the beginning. As the full powered manager in the dining room and cellar, he likes to define himself a camarero del vino, a waiter of wine. The restaurant, with an encyclopaedic wine list, owes to his incredible nose some of the most advanced experiments
Umbra di Perugia con residenza a Bologna, è giornalista e scrittrice di cucina. Tra i numeri volumi tradotti e curati, spicca "6, autoritratto della Cucina Italiana d’Avanguardia" per Cucina & Vini
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Earl Grey tea cream millefeuille, magdalenas ice cream, caramelised butter tiles and old-book flavoured rice paper: the extraordinary dessert designed by Jordi Roca at El Celler de Can Roca, in Girona, Catalonia
Josep Roca and Alessandro Tomberli participated in the 16th edition of Identità Milano, within Identità di Sala: here with the classic photo with host Federico De Cesare Viola (all photos from Brambilla Serrani)