Why the victory of El Celler de Can Roca is important for Spanish gastronomy
After three years of Danish hegemony, with Noma at number one, the brothers Roca take ElBulli's witness and puts Spain again at the head of world gastronomy.
Many thought that it was not possible, that after elBulli nothing would ever be the same, but others knew that not: Celler de Can Roca is since yesterday the best restaurant in the world and they agree to the detractors of the controversial and influential List of the British magazine Restaurant.
During the meal of “the family”, as the group of Spanish chefs who attend the event (whether on the list or not) is known, chef Alex Atala, owner of the DOM of Sao Paulo, whom rumorology made winner since the In recent weeks, he assured me: “Whatever happens this afternoon, if there is a complete restaurant in the world, it is the Celler de Can Roca. We all have some weak point, they don't. The kitchen, the bakery, the cellar, everything is perfect ”. The Roca brothers are a unique case, because each one has stood out in his specialty reaching the top: Joan in the salty kitchen, Jordi in the desserts and Josep as a sommelier.
"We can't be happier," Joan Roca told me hours later at the Guildhall in London, where the party is held every year. "Not only for us, but because This is a recognition for Spanish cuisine. We want to share it with all the restaurants in Spain. Again they look back at Spain and if they look at us, they will see them too. ”
After the full list of San Pellegrino is made public, among the top ten restaurants in the world there are three Spaniards. In addition to the Celler de Can Roca, Mugaritz is in fourth place and Arzak in eight. Juan Mari Arzak is the only chef of his generation who remains at the top. The other joy of this year has been the rise of Quique Dacosta to 26th place (it has risen 14) Y Albert Adriá Tickets entry in 77th place, because although the list is known as 50Best, the truth is that it reaches the number 100 and what the hell !, anyone would like to be among the 100 best professionals in the world in their trade. Or not?
The grill also has a lot of merit Etxebarri (whose chef Bitor Arguinzoniz is little given to travel abroad and participate in events) has kept a decent position 44, although he has descended several. The last Spanish restaurant that appears is Martín Berasategui in 64th place.
As he explained to me Quique Dacosta (happy too): “In Spain we have it harder to be on the list because there are many very good restaurants and the vote is distributed. If there was only one, everyone would vote for him as in other countries. ” Arzak, meanwhile, already before knowing the result was happy: "What more can I ask for, after so many years to continue on the list is already a prize - he said smiling.
With the same enthusiasm he spoke Andoni Aduriz after knowing that he had dropped a position and that Celler was number one, a position to which Mugaritz also aspired. “I am very happy for the Roca, and for the Spanish cuisine, good news is needed and this is. It means that we are there that we continue to fight, that our way of understanding gastronomy is still valid, that it has not expired. We have been in the top 10 for 8 years, we can't ask for more either. ”
The Roca brothers collecting the prize © 50Best
Things that attract the attention of this 2013 list: that there is no French restaurant in the top 10. That there are only two women on the list (50) Helena Rizzo de Maní (Sao Paulo) and Elena Arzak, and that the restaurant of the chosen best female chef, the Italian Nadia Santini, does not appear in it. Or that Alinea (Chicago) of Great Achat and Per Se (New York) of Thomas Keller have descended, leaving only Eleven Madison (New York) in the top 10, despite the strength of the American vote on this list.
Among the most striking developments is the ascent to the top positions of Steirereck (Vienna), a truly extraordinary restaurant where I had the opportunity to eat a few months ago, and Vendome (Germany),both representatives of central European cuisine.
But one thing is clear: Restaurant looks to South America. The magazine's editors and event organizers know about the importance that gastronomy has there and the same as this winter the 50Best Asia list was made public, 50Best South America will appear next September. The cast of restaurants represented is increasingly important: in addition to Alex Atala's DOM in 7th place, the Brazilian Maní de Helena Rizzo and Daniel Redondo (Spanish who was many years second to Celler de Can Roca) are among the 50s. which is in position 46. Peruvians Gastón Acurio (14) and Central (50). The Mexican Pujol of Enrique Olvera in 17th place and Biko in 31st. In 80th place is Roberta Sudbrack (Rio de Janeiro) and in 76 Malabar of the Peruvian Pedro Miguel Schiafino.
Yesterday, at the Guildhall in London, I screamed and cheered with all my might when the name of Celler de Can Roca appeared on the big screen and the brothers still hugged each other before they came up smiling and nervous on the stage. I would have done it with any Spanish, it is also true, but with the Roca I have a feeling special. Many years ago, when I made the first report, the restaurant was closed because it was Monday. Joan apologized and told me that we had to eat at her parents' restaurant, "a food house where they give menu, nothing gastronomic": it was a party and I ate - I still remember it, I forgot everything- the best fish suquet I've ever eaten, cooked by his Montse, his mother.
Yesterday she thought and how she would be living the moment there in Girona, with her husband, seeing the worldwide success of her great children. I got goosebumps. Do not forget, the Celler de Can Roca, the number one in the world, is a family restaurant, emerged from a modest food house, which has come to where it is thanks to effort, work, humility and intelligence. This should serve as an example. I am not going to write about the Roca kitchen because everything has already been written, but as Quique Dacosta said yesterday, "The cuisine of the Roca is avant-garde, yes, but a diplomatic vanguard, which everyone can understand and that is perfect." Large kitchen, but close, that is its merit.