Tribute to the Culinary Roca Brothers in Barcelona


El Somni
Thanks in large measure to their storied Girona restaurant Celler de Can Roca, considered the best in the world for two years running, the brothers RocaJordi, Joan, and Josep – are celebrities in Spain and throughout the foodie universe. And now to mark the restaurant’s 30th anniversary, visitors to Barcelona can see a retrospective of their career at the Palau Robert, a former townhouse on the corner of Passeig de Gràcia and Avinguda Diagonal.
Called “From the Earth to the Moon“, it lays out the brothers meteoric ascension from a small, working-class neighbourhood on the outskirts of Girona to the heights of world cuisine.

The exhibition’s starting point, of course, is the old, family-run Can Roca de Talaià, where it all began, and which still thrives as a neighbourhood hangout as well as an anchor that keeps these high-flying brothers grounded in a certain way. And it travels along the stove-to-stove trajectory of the three brothers and their wildest, most ambitious dreams. Here the exhibition’s originality comes into play, including a room is a kaleidoscope projecting hundreds of images of the Rocas and their life story, and three others which include images of vineyards; copies of 31 of their famous recipes; and other more personal odds and ends.

The portrait that emerges is of Joan as the most serious and organised of the brothers; Jordi has a touch of the wild and mischievous; and Josep (Pitu to his friends) is perhaps the most elegant, as well as expert in the world of wine.

The whole setup is frankly a dazzling work of art in itself, an artistic immersion in a culinary world via special effects and virtual reality that includes a visit to the Celler de Can Roca’s “Masia Laboratory“, where the haute-cuisine magic happens.

But there’s also an earthiness and an underlying unpretentiousnes running through it all, as one of the exhibits tells us:

Behind this world of haute cuisine you’ll always spot those three boys born in a humble neighbourhood, who have never forgotten where they come from.

“From the Earth to the Moon” is running at the Palau Robert through April 23, 2017.

photo | Ajuntament Barcelona