The life of a salmon is a round-trip journey. Immediately after birth, it travels down river to the sea, where it lives until the time comes to procreate. The salmon them swims upriver, overcoming all obstacles, and reaches the same spot where its journey began – a point of departure to which it arrives enriched from everything it learned on the way, and determined to leave a mark on its birthplace.
The Roca brothers have travelled their own particular salmon route, with the neighborhood of Taialá in Girona as their point of departure. As the third generation in a family dedicated to the restaurant business, they grew up behind the bar of their parents’ restaurant, learned the basics of French nouvelle cuisine and the Basque and Catalan vanguard cuisines, traveled the world thanks to BBVA tours but always returned to their native Girona. They´ve had plenty of opportunities to replicate the success of El Celler de Can Roca in other parts of the world; however, they´ve preferred to stay true to their values and, with authenticity as their trademark, remain in their place of origin.
It all began in a barrio on the outskirts of Girona. A humble place, without any particular attraction for tourists. The Celler opened its doors with all the odds against it. There followed months of hard work, during which customers didn´t always appear and the numbers didn´t always add up. Three decades later, with the restaurant´s display cases full of awards, the Roca brothers haven’t forgotten those sleepless nights.
“Our location wasn´t the best place to start a restaurant that aspired to excellence - a working class neighborhood populated by immigrants,” says Josep Roca. In spite of this, the brothers were sure that with effort, they would be able to break down all the barriers. “Today, people from all around the world come with high expectations, but knowing that ours is a story of struggle, of honesty – in short, something authentic,” he says.
And although they are they ones that receive the prizes and the recognition, the brothers know that the key to everything is their team. “None of this happens if you don´t have a team behind you. We are the visible faces of a team of more than 70 people in the dining room and the kitchen that make it possible that in the day to day work, we meet the higest expectations of excellence,” says Jordi Roca.
El Celler de Can Roca team. - BBVA
Restaurant professionals, along with scientists, graphic and industrial designers and botanists are all part of El Celler’s multidisciplinary team and they all row in the same direction. “They work on a lot of projects in parallel, which feed off one another, and that makes all this the work of a group and not just ours,” says the head of the desserts area of the restaurant.
Putting the customer first
“The customers are the most important thing, we owe everything to them, they are the ones that give meaning to all this work,” says Josep, emphatically, adding, “We prepare to seduce, to participate in that fantastic act that is gastronomy, and ultimately, to delight them with good taste,” he says. That’s above all their intention to travel a path that leads to excellence.
At the end of that journey lies the satisfaction of their customers, the last stage in that “salmon route” that is guided by authenticity and the values that make dining at El Celler de Can Roca a unique and special experience.