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Joan Roca: “Turkey is a country that has a lot to show”

‘The Turkish Way’, produced by BBVA, premiered in the culinary section of the San Sebastian Film Festival. The documentary captures the experience of the Roca brothers during their trip to Turkey in 2015, bearing witness to how the top chefs in the country are starting an interesting gastronomic movement. “Being there was wonderful, meeting top chefs and seeing them gather and come together in a manifesto aimed at boosting the relevance of their cuisine,” said Joan Roca, chef of El Celler de Can Roca, during the presentation of the film.

In 2015, the Roca brothers embarked on a tour across Turkey to meet young chefs that are trying to claim a more relevant spot for their country’s cuisine in the gastronomic world. El Celler de Can Roca’s Istanbul visit provided the perfect excuse to get some of the top cooks in Turkey to meet and open a debate about the importance of joining forces and working together to change the perception of Turkish cuisine across the world.

“We realized that what was happening in Turkey was similar to what had already happened in Spain. Cooks were starting to realize that they needed to start working together to take their cuisine to the next level,” says Luis González, director of ‘The Turkish Way.’ The movie begins with a conversation between Juan Mari Arzak and Joan Roca: “We wanted to start the movie with a master like Arzak, explaining what happened in Spain to understand what’s happening over there,” says the director.

Luis González and Joan Roca during 'The Turkish Way' premier in San Sebastian Film Festival

Luis González and Joan Roca during 'The Turkish Way' premier in San Sebastian Film Festival

From Smyrna and Cappadocia, to the wine region of Thrace, Joan, Josep and Jordi Roca travelled to learn, first-hand, about the country and meet local producers. “Being there was wonderful, meeting top chefs and seeing them gather and come together in a manifesto aimed at boosting the relevance of their cuisine, their culture,“ said the eldest Roca brother during the presentation in San Sebastian. “Thanks to BBVA and Garanti we’ve been able to show what’s happening not just in Istambul… we’ve adopted a pedagogical approach and tried to offer a glimpse of another Turkey, a country that has a lot to show and which is starting a very interesting culinary movement,” he adds.

In Joan Roca’s own words, the movie is his humble contribution to spreading the word about the history, the culture and the gastronomy of a country which, despite its huge potential, remains widely unknown. “As a cultural crossroads – the meeting point between the east and the west – it has an incredible heritage and we thought it would be quite interesting to show that experience,” he continues.

'The Turkish Way' trailer

The Roca brothers made the most of their visits to create the menu they offered in Istambul to pay tribute to Turkey’s cuisine, a menu that continues to inspire their activity at the Girona-based restaurant. “At El Celler de Can Roca we continued working on some of the dishes of our Istambul menu. We cooked them using local products, but they took our customers to Turkey. That’s what’s so wonderful about gastronomy.”

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