Chef Joan Roca of El Celler de Can Roca - Biography

Girona, Spain

August 2014

They’re arguably the most well regarded culinary trio in history, but the Roca brothers—Joan, Josep, and Jordi—began their culinary careers in a family-owned bar, where the Roca matriarch served classic Catalan cooking to a local clientele. Within a few years of opening a restaurant annex to the bar in 1986, the brothers began to change and challenge the face of modern cuisine, with Joan taking the helm of savory cuisine.

But first, Joan enriched his roots with culinary school in Girona and extensive travel, including mentorship from Chefs Frédy Girardet and Joël Robuchon. Only then did Joan and his brothers begin down the road less culinarily traveled, with Joan working in savory as his brothers tackled the liquid and sweet sides of El Celler de Can Roca--the whole operation built on a kind of creative synergy. The story is well known in Spain and beyond: El Celler de Can Roca is now number two on San Pelligrino’s “The World’s 50 Best Restaurants” list, and in 2009 the family bar-turned-restaurant earned its third Michelin star.

In September 2007, the trio transferred the restaurant operations to the Torre de Can Roca, 200 meters away, gaining space for the kitchen and dining room. And while they cook with heart—like their mother—the trio has continued its devotion to research, collaborating with the Alicia Foundation and publishing their research with the Barcelona Vanguardia conference in 2010. 2013 saw Joan and his brothers launching two outlets in Barcelona’s Hotel Omm: Roca Moo, a modern Catalan re-launch of their original Restaurante Moo, and Roca Bar, with more casual but no less creative gastronomy. And in August of 2014, El Celler literally hit the road with “Roca & Roll,” the Rocas’ response to myriad requests to open restaurants worldwide, bringing El Celler on a culinary tour to cities across the globe.