LAST YEAR'S POSITION 2
YEARS ON THE LIST 8
Why the Roca brothers rule the world
The logo that represents El Celler de Can Roca is an ‘R’ with a difference. The quirk is that the letter that evokes the family name has three ‘legs’ – each representing one of the three Roca brothers, who have combined their diverse skills to such extraordinary effect. This is a Catalan family restaurant through and through, and yet it is also now the best restaurant in the world.
The Spanish favourite entered the World’s 50 Best list eight years ago and has somewhat stealthily climbed the rankings since. Its relatively low-key rise is reflective of the Rocas’ evolutionary approach and modest outlook. The Rocas grew up steeped in their mother’s restaurant in Girona’s working-class suburb of Taiala. In 1986, elder brothers Joan and Josep opened El Celler de Can Roca alongside the original. In 2007 – with younger sibling Jordi on board – they moved just up the road to the striking purpose-built space that remains their home.
Head chef Joan is alone a cook of the very highest order: he helped pioneer the widespread use of sous-vide cooking in the ’90s via his Roner machine, and is a technical maestro. Josep is the head sommelier who runs the supremely smooth front-of-house operation: understated but passionate. Jordi is the rule-breaking pastry chef whose creations blow the imagination.
This family triumvirate and their teams create magic without undue theatrics. Eating at El Celler is truly uplifting, with the warmth of the family dynamic all-pervasive. Rock on, you Rocas.