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Joan Roca, chef at El Celler de Can Roca, was the featured guest at the latest session of Matins ESADE, sponsored by bluecap in collaboration with La Vanguardia, where he spoke about the importance of creativity and innovation in cooking.
In a talk entitled ''From neighbourhood bar to dream factory'', he explained that at the restaurant he runs with his two brothers, the staff work in open spaces, and ‘the kitchen is located on the ground floor of the house’, which allows them to better organize themselves and make better use of the space.
Following a brief overview of his family history and career, Roca discussed the recent La Masía (I+D) [The Farm (R&D)] initiative, El Celler de Can Roca’s talent and innovation hub. Amongst other things, La Masía has a garden, which they use to plant seeds they bring from around the world to grow produce to incorporate into their cooking, ''just as people did with the tomato or the potato in the 15th and 16th centuries''. This new space allows them to ''engage in a multidisciplinary dialogue, which is the cornerstone of cooking'' and ‘has emerged as a vital component of the process, providing a place to think and reflect’, he noted.
''Innovation is the key to progress; in cooking, it has been very important in recent years'', Roca said at ESADE, mentioning Ferran Adrià, a renowned fellow chef who collaborates with ESADE on the Creativity for Business Innovation Challenge (C4BI). ''It is curious that everything that has happened at the culinary level has happened so quickly in a region like ours'', he said.
In this regard, he noted, ''The team is key and should be listened to and motivated, since without it, you cannot achieve excellence.'' He also discussed a contest the restaurant has held for stagiaires, culinary apprentices who come to El Celler de Can Roca from around the world and who, in addition to submitting their CV, must cook a dish, explain where they come from, etc. The winner receives a full-menu dinner at the bar at El Celler. ''We hold a sort of internal MasterChef, and my brothers and I are the judges'', he explained with a laugh.
At the session, he showed an image with some of the establishment’s main defining philosophical concepts, including memory, academicism, product, tradition, landscape, chromaticism, daring and freedom, amongst others, noting that this decalogue is used at schools such as the Culinary Institute of America.
Joan Roca gave an inspirational talk, in which everything is built on people, with healthy doses of creativity, innovation, daring and, above all, a lot of humility.
Joan Roca, Chef of El Celler de Can Roca, will feature this new session of Matins ESADE entitled ''El Celler de Can Roca: from neighbourhood bar to dream factory''.
The Roca brothers' passion for cooking was forged at Can Roca, the bar their parents ran in Taialà, a neighbourhood on the outskirts of Girona. El Celler de Can Roca is a restaurant with an independent style and a commitment to culinary freedom and innovation, yet it does not sacrifice the memory of previous generations devoted to feeding their customers.
Joan Roca will tell us about his creative process and the business philosophy that led the brothers to create a restaurant that is now recognised in national and international rankings and guides. Joan will tell us what they do, and why and how they do it. He’ll also talk about new projects on the horizon, innovation, social responsibility and sustainability, the emotional management of the team, and other topics.