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El Celler de Can Roca: Meet the Brothers Behind the Best Restaurant in the World

Even after decades of accolades, including three Michelin stars and repeat appearances at number one on the “World’s 50 Best Restaurants” list, the three Roca brothers at the helm of El Celler de Can Roca place family at the heart of what they do. If Joan Roca i Fontané, the oldest brother and head chef of the legendary restaurant, had to define success, it would look like this: “Family, work, health, hospitality and generosity.” This isn’t a surprise, considering his two younger brothers—Josep, who is the sommelier, and Jordi, the pastry chef—are just as integral as he is to the operation and success of their empire based out of Girona, Spain. All three of them refer to their individual roles as, “the salt mind, the liquid mind and the sweet mind” or “three heads and one hat.” To illustrate this, each table at the restaurant is adorned with three rocks at its center, a nod to their first surname, Roca, which means "rock" in Catalan.

The success of the brothers’ empire can really be attributed to their parents, who owned restaurants in Girona: a city that is just about an hour north of Barcelona in the Catalonia region of Spain. Joan tells JustLuxe he knew he wanted to be a chef at an early age. “I was just eight years old when my mother ordered a cooking apron for me from the tailor. It was a very special present. I loved being in the kitchen and helping my mother at our parents’ restaurant after school.” His parents opened up Can Roca in 1967, which was a hybrid bar and restaurant, a structure pretty commonly found in Spain.

Jackie Bryant

www.jackiebryantwriting.com Jackie is the Lifestyle Editor at JustLuxe.com. Her freelance work has appeared at Afar.com, Harper's Bazaar, The Infatuation, and Locale Magazine. Her favorite vices are peaty alcohol, rich textiles, far-flung hotels, and all food from any part of the world that can be found in a dumpling-like format. She can usually be found hanging out in her current homes of San ...(Read More)

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