If chefs are the new rock stars, the Roca brothers, Joan (head chef), Jordi (pastry chef) and Josep (sommelier) are the culinary equivalent of, say, Earth, Wind & Fire, even starring in a road-movie documentary Cooking Up a Tribute, which premiered at the Berlin Film Festival in 2015.
Their avant-garde three-Michelin-star restaurant El Celler de Can Roca, about 100km northeast of Barcelona in Girona is temporarily closing on August 1 (reopening on September 12) as the brothers are on a world tour, seeking new ideas and inspirations, and, with the support of Madrid-based bank BBVA, opening pop-up versions of the restaurant – recently voted number two in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list – in various countries.
The tour takes in three continents in five weeks, kicking off in London (August 2-5), followed by Hong Kong (August 8-13), Phoenix, Arizona (August 14-19), San Francisco (August 20-27) and Santiago de Chile (August 28-September 4). “It’s a logistical challenge,” says Joan. “We take the entire 40-strong team and move it to each one of the countries so guests enjoy the same culinary experience they would if they were dining at El Celler de Can Roca.”
For London diners being served in Hotel Café Royal’s Domino restaurant, places are by invitation only. However, How To Spend It readers can win a table for two on each of the nights by emailing their preferred date (from August 2 to 5) to: FTRoca@hotelcaferoyal.com. Entries must be received by Monday July 25.
“We’ll be using mostly local products from London markets to create 10 tapas starters, six main courses and two desserts, with appropriate wines,” says Joan, among whose most famous creations are 10 dishes based on 10 musical fragments from opera and classical music, and dishes spiked with aromas of favourite fragrances, “so you eat the aroma”.
To research the project, the Rocas’ reconnaissance trip began last March, and the team stopped at each location to gain insight into the local gastronomy for the tour menus. “We seek out the best products and ingredients in an effort to promote local producers,” continues Joan. “The tour is an opportunity to meet farmers, producers, fishermen. We also learn from each country’s culture and gastronomy and come home with our bags full of new flavours and recipes.”
And lucky London diners will come home with their hearts, minds and stomachs full of the same. All it takes is an email to gain access to a night of unforgettable gastronomic wonders.