The Roca brothers’ passion for cooking was initially kindled in Can Roca, the establishment their parents manage in Taialà, a neighbourhood lying on the outskirts of Girona.
It is where they grew up, amid the hubbub of dishes, pots and pans and clients. The bar was their living room, their playground, where they did their homework, watched television… whence the aroma of the stews generously, simply and honestly prepared by their mother, wafted in.
On November 25, 2009, in the Bar Tomate in Madrid, Josep, Jordi and Joan Roca celebrated the third star awarded by the Michelin Guide to El Celler de Can Roca. “The only thing that matters is that the client is satisfied and wants to return, regardless of whether the restaurant is number one or number two, three or fifty, or whether we have three stars or two”, says Joan.;
Montserrat Fontané surrounded by her three sons.
She is the key to the three brothers’ shared vocation; cooking with respect, affection and generosity is the key learning she passed onto them.;
The Roca brothers gave the opening speech at the Girona Local Festivities in 2009. A journey through the five senses during which they gifted the city with an Apple and foie timbale in the form of a painting by Eva Llorens, and candy created especially for the occasion in the El Celler de Can Roca kitchen was handed out.;
An impromptu gathering of friends and colleagues of the Roca brothers went to surprise and congratulate them the day they were awarded their third Michelin star. This recognition was probably much more valuable than any accolade they might have received from any guide, magazine or institution.;
Entrance of the first El Celler de Can Roca in August 1986, next to their parents’ bar. The premises were revamped in 1996, and they subsequently relocated to Can Sunyer in 2007, where the restaurant now stands;
Josep, Joan and Jordi with their Grannie, Angeleta, at the bar of Can Roca. Their Grannie was the brothers’ creative muse, and her cooking at Can Roca, together with their mother’s, provided the foundations for learning and for the structure needed to afford El Celler freedom to devise a new cuisine without ever losing sight of their roots.;
Jordi, cycling on the empty ground in front of Can Roca, when the Germans Sàbat district, in Taialà, was an emerging neighbourhood, still being built. Can Roca was located on the outskirts of the city which absorbed, as best it could, the arrival of immigrants from the south of Spain at the end of the 1950s and the 1960s.
In 2010, Josep Roca delivered the opening speech of the Local Festivities of Germans Sàbat.;
Joan behind the bar in Can Roca. Their parents’ bar was their living room, their playroom, where they did their homework, watched television… while the smell of the stews cooked up by their mother, Montse, and their Grannie, Angeleta, wafted in.;
Anna, Joan Roca‘s wife, with their children Marc and Marina.;
On the left, the boss. He was the bus driver of the line between Sant Esteve de Llémena and Girona, and there was a stop just in front of Can Roca. In the humble neighbourhood of Germans Sàbat it was known as the driver’s bar.;
Joan Roca in London with Adrià, Aduriz and Arzak, about to leave for the award ceremony of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants of 2009, where all four of them were placed in the top ten. At this moment in time, Catalan and Basque cuisine hold privileged places in the world’s gastronomic preferences;
In December 2010, Joan was made an honorary doctor of the University of Girona at the proposal of the School of Tourism. An award he shared with his two brothers by virtue of their capacity as privileged ambassadors of the lands of Girona and by dint of their untiring effort, for being faithful to their roots and also their international projection.;
Josep Roca and Montserrat Fontané, the parents, with Jordi, in the kitchen of Can Roca. Every day at noon, El Celler‘s fifty workers walk the hundred metres that separate the Can Roca restaurant and their parents’ own restaurant to have lunch.;
Xani, Josep Roca‘s wife, with their children Martí and Maria. She has been part of the El Celler de Can Roca team since the very beginning: firstly in the dining room, and subsequently managing banquets and catering.;
A night at the Opera, the film by the Marx brothers, turned into A night in the kitchen of El Celler, by the Roca brothers. A photomontage of the book “El Celler de Can Roca. Una simfonia fantàstica“, by Jaume Coll.;
Our story goes back to the nineteen-eighties, when Joan and Josep Roca completed their course at the Girona Catering School, where they learnt a less traditional and more academic type of cooking, far removed from the fare that was being served at Can Roca.
And this was how, in August 1986, Joan (at the tender age of 22) and Josep (a mere 20) opened the first El Celler de Can Roca. They were joined by Jordi, the youngest brother, in 1999.;
A young Jordi Roca in the kitchen of the old El Celler, with Joan and Salvador Brugués. Vadó is part of the restaurant’s research team and co-authored, with Joan, the book on sous-vide cuisine “Sous-vide cuisine”, a world reference in this cooking technique which respects the flavours and the properties of products.;
Can Reixach, in Sant Martí de Llémena. This restaurant, still open, is where Josep Roca Senior was born, and where his mother, Angeleta, the Roca brothers’ Grannie, cooked. This is definitely where this story all began.;
This photo by Daniel Alea defines El Celler de Can Roca: a three-seater sidecar. Everything is three-way; the restaurant, an equilateral triangle with the three vertices of gastronomy: Joan, Josep and Jordi; salt, liquid and sweet.;
Jordi playing in the kitchen of El Celler with his nephews: Marc, Joan’s son, and Martí, Josep‘s son. Only time will tell if they will take over.;
The kitchen of El Celler, which plays an important part in the restaurant’s worldwide fame. A team that takes its mission very seriously, with refined vision, talent and values. The team’s secret lies in order, everyone knows what they are expected to do.;
The work of dissemination or publicity is important in El Celler, promoting dialogue with the different stakeholders in the gastronomic world: chefs, students, manufacturers, critics… The Roca bothers travel the world untiringly to explain their cuisine at congresses, demonstrations or courses: From Seoul to Harvard, Lima to Paris, from Donosti to Girona. In the photo, at the Fòrum Gastronòmic 2011 of Girona, with Manuel Angosto, the restaurant’s sommelier.;
Joan with his children: Marc and Marina. When he was but a slip of a boy, driven by the example of his mother and his Grannie, Angeleta, Joan decided he wanted to be a chef. At the tender age of nine or ten he started to cook and helped his parents out in the restaurant in the evening and at weekends.;
Over the years, the Roca brothers have been involved in the country’s cultural and social life by participating in all kinds of acts and events. In the photograph, Josep at the institutional act of September 11, 2011, in the Parliament of Catalonia.;
Three rocks, three Rocas.;