For the third year, BBVA and El Celler de Can Roca are bringing the 2015 world's best restaurant to other countries. The tour is an homage to the gastronomy of the places visited, presented with respect and humility, and made possible thanks to the perfect union of ideas between BBVA and the Roca brothers. This year, the tour is making stops in London, Hong Kong, Phoenix, San Francisco and Santiago de Chile.
The BBVA-El Celler de Can Roca Tour arose out of a series of shared values: responsibility, innovation, commitment, global outlook, leadership and the desire to excel — traits that have made this adventure possible. This year, innovation will be a prominent theme as the tour makes a stop in San Francisco, a city that thrives on its reputation for being on the leading edge.
For BBVA, the collaboration with El Celler de Can Roca is consistent with its goal of achieving maximum visibility and recognition in all of the regions where it operates, and of creating emotional ties with its global audience.
One of the keys to this alliance is that both the Roca brothers and BBVA share the conviction that their most highly prized treasures are their customers. The Roca brothers believe BBVA is "the best and most natural partner possible with which to embark on this journey." The two work together to discover the most promising young chefs and support small producers in all of the countries they visit, helping them develop initiatives that improve their communities.
"We are excited and aware of the enormous responsibility involved in the challenge of traveling around the world with our team. My brothers and I see the BBVA Tour as a sincere tribute to some extraordinary cuisines that are also so different from each other" — Joan Roca
The tour is a logistical challenge never seen before in the world of haute cuisine. It takes nearly the entire team behind El Celler de Can Roca and moves it to each one of the countries the tour visits, ensuring guests enjoy the same culinary experience they would if they were dining at El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, Spain.
The 2016 BBVA-El Celler de Can Roca Tour will journey around the world, visiting three continents in five weeks. The Rocas’ “reconnaissance trip” began in March, where the team stopped in each location to gain insight into the local gastronomy and identify the best ingredients for the tour menus.
The 2016 BBVA- El Celler de Can Roca Tour will begin in London. The whole team will then take off to Hong Kong, before landing in the United States: first stop Phoenix and afterwards San Francisco. The 2016 Tour will close up in Santiago de Chile, after more than 26.000 miles travelled.
The BBVA-El Celler de Can Roca Tour is the result of a global alliance between BBVA and El Celler de Can Roca and boasts a significant social component. The Rocas’ commitment to responsible business was cemented earlier this year when the three were named United Nations Goodwill Ambassadors for the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). To contribute to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the brothers will share their knowledge through training programs, working to improve market conditions for farmers and small-sized agricultural enterprises.
Ours is a vocational commitment and so is training — Josep Roca
Josep Roca visited some Turkish vineyards to discover the finest wines for the 2015 Tour
Reconnaissance trip: boost to local producers
During the reconnaissance trip, the Roca brothers sought the best products and ingredients in each location in an effort to promote local producers. The tour is an opportunity for social inclusion, benefitting farmworkers, farmers, producers, fishermen — the entirety of the gastronomy value chain.
BBVA and El Celler de Can Roca have sought and will continue to seek the best raw materials and products from around the world. With help from top local producers, they will explore a range of new gastronomic experiences. These raw materials will be featured on the menus of the BBVA Tour and inform the dishes that grace the menu at El Celler de Can Roca.
"This cooking trip allows us to add our grain of sand by training hundreds of hospitality students who, just like us, see cooking as a means of expression, a way of being" — Joan Roca
BBVA scholarships in El Celler de Can Roca
During the tour, the Roca brothers will select two culinary students from each of the cities they visit. The aim is to promote local talent, helping the young chefs bring their dreams closer to reality. The internship program takes place over four months at El Celler de Can Roca in Girona. All travel, accommodation and food expenses will be covered by El Celler and BBVA.
In the summer of 2014, thanks to BBVA, the Roca brothers and the team at El Celler de Can Roca went on their first trip. This was to become the cooking event of the year.
The tours make it possible to see the cooking tradition of other countries firsthand, offering a unique opportunity for traveling and learning. This is a way of leaving the comfort zone of success that comes from being named among the best restaurants in the world over the last few years.
We have been able to act as ambassadors for our cooking, our culture wherever we have been — Joan Roca
The first BBVA-El Celler de Can Roca Tour visited the United States, Mexico, Colombia and Peru. In 2015, the tour went to Europe, the United States and Asia, with Turkey as the last stop in the second trip. That year Buenos Aires, Miami, Birmingham, Houston and Istanbul were the chosen destinations.
The tour in figures
During previous BBVA Tours:
On the big screen
A trip this size, with gastronomy in the lead role and a major social thread, needs to be available to the world — which is why we captured this tribute to cooking for the big screen. Telling the story of these trips is also a statement about the strength and contribution of America's cuisine to the global gastronomic culture, and about the creation of identities that go beyond cooking and are playing a significant role in social change.
Cooking Up a Tribute, produced by BBVA Contenidos, is a documentary about the 2014 BBVA Tour. This is a road cooking movie where the Roca brothers are not the only protagonists. The real protagonists are each and every one of the excited producers, farmers, young hospitality students, chefs, enologists, and others to which this movie pays homage.
Above all, this is a tribute to America and its contribution to the world's cuisine — Joan Roca
Cooking Up a Tribute had a successful premiere at the Berlin Film Festival in 2015 and was subsequently shown in other major movie festivals such as San Sebastian and Tokyo.
Trailer: Cooking Up a Tribute
The Turkish Way, the second phase of the documentary, finished filming last year and will premiere soon. It tells the experience of the Roca brothers in Turkey in 2015 and what they learned from the country’s culture and gastronomy.
In these movies, Joan, Josep and Jordi are the central piece in a puzzle where the collective effort of an exceptional team is accompanied by the generosity and support of friends and colleagues in each of the countries that form part of the tours.
Both movies, which follow the initiative of BBVA and El Celler de Can Roca, were conceived with the firm conviction that cuisine and gastronomy are a driving force behind social and economic development.
Trailer: The Turkish Way
30 years at the forefront of gastronomy
In 2015, and for the second time, the brothers Joan (1964), Josep (1966) and Jordi Roca (1978) earned the title of best restaurant in the world for El Celler de Can Roca on the World's 50 Best Restaurants list published by the prestigious British Restaurant Magazine, whose awards are recognized as the Oscars of gastronomy. Talent, passion, workmanship, creation and perseverance are the daily ingredients that explain why the work of these three masters has been recognized all over the world.
The key is our team. El Celler de Can Roca is not just the three of us. Our team is everything. Nothing is possible without them — Josep Roca
The phenomenon of the brothers Roca and their formula is truly unique and practically unbeatable: three geniuses working freely in separate fields with the most effective possible division of responsibilities. They complement each other in the world of savory cuisine (Joan); in the dining room, as a sommelier (Josep); and in the realm of pastries (Jordi). For these and many other reasons,
In 2015, the Roca brothers were named Honorary Ambassadors of Marca España “for being three of the most influential culinary icons in Spanish cuisine and projecting an image of quality and excellence across the world." In an event held at Ciudad BBVA, Joan Roca – in his own name and on behalf of his brothers – was handed the award by King Felipe VI.
The cuisine of El Celler de Can Roca is a fresh and thoughtful approach that does not forget local flavors, but uses creative techniques wisely and with wise experience. Their latest research has taken them on a journey that they describe as emotional cooking.
It has created a culinary discourse with its own distinctive hallmark, rooted in the best that Spanish cuisine has produced in recent years, from the early days of Juan Mari Arzak and Santi Santamaría, to Pedro Subijana and of course their maestro and friend, Ferran Adrià, in whose kitchen Joan and Jordi trained for a couple of summers. Far from behaving like culinary stars, they claim they "only want diners to enjoy a better culinary experience each time, to create something that makes the journey worthwhile and creates a desire to return."
Currently, El Celler de Can Roca has a team of around 40 chefs and 20 waiters, including "estagiers" who come from culinary schools and large restaurants around the world to train.
The restaurant has become a cult destination and object of desire for gourmets. Reservations open on the first day of each month, and it took just 8 minutes for the restaurant to get fully booked for the next 11 months.
El Celler de Can Roca's kitchen
El Celler de Can Roca was founded by the brothers Joan and Josep Roca in late August of 1986, in Girona. In 1997 the youngest brother, Jordi, joined the restaurant and became assistant chef for desserts.
The Roca brothers’ restaurant started out in the modest premises next to their parents' traditional eatery. The current El Celler de Can Roca is the evolutionary consequence of a family dedicated to the restaurant business for generations. The Roca brothers received two kinds of training from the start: in traditional and French cuisine.
Joan could have been quicker but he waited for Jordi and me to go farther — Josep Roca
In 1995 came the first Michelin star, in 2002 the second. They got their third Michelin star in 2009, the same year the English publication Restaurant placed El Celler de Can Roca fifth out of the 50 best restaurants in the world. They rose to fourth place the next year before leaping to second in 2011 and 2012. Ultimately, in 2013, they were elected the best restaurant in the world. They took second place in 2014 before recovering the crown in 2015.
Joan Roca: new pathways in the kitchen
Joan Roca has been at the forefront of gastronomy for years. "Right now we are in the middle of an emotional revolution. We cook to evoke emotions. It's not just about eating well; it's about trying to influence people's emotional state," he explained. They say they don't work for the lists or the guides. They do it to thrill their customers.
Joan, who in 2000 was recognized as Chef of the Year by the Spanish Academy of Gastronomy, is the eldest brother and chef, and as such is responsible for the restaurant and for this techno-emotional cuisine that combines research into modern techniques and novel applications with dishes with traditional origins.
In December 2015, Joan Roca became chairman of the International Council of the Basque Culinary Center, which consists of eleven of the most prestigious chefs in the world. Its goal is to promote new projects, among other things.
In 2016, Joan Roca has received the Chef's Choice Award, in the ceremony of The World's 50 Best.
Josep Roca: suitability in association
Josep Roca is the maitre d' and sommelier of El Celler de Can Roca. According to the specialized press and reviews, there is an "almost infinite ideal bond between dishes and wines, and the shades of each dish are also infinite."
Instead of sommelier, he has always liked to be called a "wine waiter." This approach and humility have been deeply rooted since his childhood at home with his brothers and parents.
Josep is a "seller of happiness" since the waiter "needs to be humble and discreet to be able to understand the diners' mood and, as such, create harmony and empathy."
He is also in charge of the wine cellar of 200 square meters, a genuine treasure that stores 40,000 bottles of 3,360 different labels that are between 5 or 6 years old. It is undoubtedly one of the best cellars in the world.
Jordi Roca: exchanging senses
With the best school in his own home and his ability to absorb the knowledge of his older brothers, Jordi in 2014 was named the best pastry chef in the world by the English magazine Restaurant.
Jordi has made a name for himself for his interpretations of the interactions between the senses in his desserts. Rather than smelling a dessert, the aim is to eat a fragrance. He created a series of desserts inspired by fragrances.
These dishes are based on what was until now a unique concept in the world of cuisine: capturing the volatile soul of a perfume, deciphering the formula and adapting it to an edible reality. "We wanted to eat the smell. The adventure was stimulating. We felt like Grenouille in 'Perfume' and we shared his fascination," he has said.
At Madrid Fusion 2016, Jordi Roca presented a groundbreaking project with the first legally recognized cyborg, Neil Harbisson. Their "dish player" is a cromaphone that translates colors into music. This invention seeks to make a dish sound through the colors of its ingredients. There is still a long way to go but the "dish player" is already a revolution in gastronomy.
The aim of the creative process is to maintain the entrepreneurial and innovative drive within El Celler de Can Roca. However, this drive cannot be achieved through a dramatic rupture but through gradual evolution, discreet innovation.
Innovation is a means rather than the end and curiosity must always be present, with consensus among the three brothers. Each of them makes a suggestion and has to convince the other two.
Perseverance and love for the land have been the basis of the Roca brothers’ work for 30 years since they opened the restaurant. Also, continuous training is key: El Celler de Can Roca closes at noon on Tuesdays so that its teams can work exclusively on training.
There are 16 work areas around which they develop their creativity: tradition, memory, academicism, wine, product, landscape, chromatism, sweet world, transversality, perfume, innovation, poetry, freedom, daring, magic and sense of humor.
They also have other creative spaces away from the heat of the kitchen: El Roca Lab and La Masía are the places where new ideas are tried out; they include an organic vegetable garden and their own staff dedicated full-time to innovation.
La Masía is a gastronomy incubator where the Roca brothers study, reflect and experiment. The space, which is in front of the restaurant, acts as a place for weekly training and brainstorming.