Sweet Entertainment | Jordi Roca

18 Sep 2019
3 min read
Known for implementing the three-pronged approach of tradition, intellect and academics into cooking, Jordi Roca is considered the ‘magician of pastry’. His creations are both a work of art and also a pursuit of ongoing gastronomic innovation.

“My training in the world of deserts started in an amateurish way, nothing academic. In my teenage years, I was a rebel trying to find his place in the family restaurant as I was neither completely happy in the dining room with my brother Josep, nor in the kitchen next to Joan. They had created their own complementary universes and they were mastering both their fields. It took time and a lot of trial and error to find my own space, my own talent, something to add that would give to our project a value beyond the sum of its parts, something that could complete the talent triangle from a new vertex. That was pastry. Once I found it, I have been completely committed to it.”

“I was taught by Damian Allsop, a talented Welsh pastry chef who ran the pastry area of El Celler de Can Roca at the end of the ‘90s. He helped me to open my mind, my curiosity and from here my chance to create really began. Since then, I never cease to try and amuse myself, to dream or provoke surprise and especially to play. I’ve been addicted to sweet entertainment for over 15 years. I feel an absolute need to express my life in a sweet way. ”

“I am inspired by defiance, daring to think beyond the limits of what is possible and what is not, breaking the rules and channeling this through my creations. Inspiration can come from a walk, a landscape, a smell, a story, a sound, a transgression, an emotion – any path can lead us to creativity. Freedom and freshness. Radicalism and extremism. I love playing with the limits with irreverence and breaking rules. Fantasy beautifies.”

“As a pastry chef, I explore my world away from the rigor and seriousness of the entrées and corpulent menu dishes. I like to surprise at the last moment, where the boundary between what is established and the fascination tends to be blurred. Everything inspires.”

“Therefore, my team and I are focused on investigating the synesthetic correspondences of the ingredients. From the field of sensory science, the research and studies about human perception will provide lots of clues to explore new horizons and find the way to play with them in edible experiences.”

“As a result, each of the desserts is born from a different starting point, sometimes is a perfume, a childhood memory, a landscape or a product. In each dessert, I try to set a bridge in order to communicate with the guest and offer a pleasant experience.”

“For the team, the next step is to try to build desserts that incorporate the sense of hearing in collaboration with Neil Harbisson (the first recognized cyborg in the world). What we are doing now is giving a musical note to each colour, so as to be able to compose melodies according to the sequence or order we follow when plating the dessert ingredients. Currently, we are working with a prototype dish that can read the ingredients and translate them into musical notes. Maybe it just remains a prototype, but just to be able to work on something like this opens our minds and we are able to be more creative and discover new lines of work.”

“Another project I have been working on is traveling in search of the finest cocoa beans around the world, of which we have found several varieties in South America. This is part of an ambitious project sponsored by BBVA and National Geographic in the form of a documentary and a book (co-written with the journalist and writer Ignacio Medina) that will be premiered probably next winter. The benefits of both, the documentary and the book, will benefit an NGO in the region.”

“The project will conclude with the opening of Casa Cacao in 2019, a chocolate workshop, tasting room, shop and cafeteria devoted to chocolate in a bean to bar concept. The idea was born from questioning whether El Celler de Can Roca could create our own chocolate from the best beans and studying all the technical processes in order to produce it.”

“In order for me to fully understand where this process begins, I went to the Amazon and Colombian jungle. In Peru, I got in touch with the aguarunes, a rural tribe that harvests bamboo and wild cocoa beans that grow under tree groves. It’s a very ecological plantation, so we have now started a nice relationship with them in order to buy the produce directly from them and avoid the monopoly of the cocoa trade. We have also engaged in the same way with arhuaco tribe, more used to trade, to import their beans.”

“Direct contact like this with suppliers means that we will contribute to fair trade, even when it will be more expensive for us. There’s a priceless story behind the final product that is completely worth every expense.”



Find out more about Jordi and the Roca Brothers’ culinary offerings here and follow @jordirocasan on Instagram to keep up to date with Jordi’s journey in the world of pastry.


Images © David Ruano and Joan Pujol-Creus