Jordi Roca and Albert Adrià at ChefSache
Chefsache is one of the most relevant gastronomic events in Europe and the most important in Germany. Targeted at professionals from the restaurant and hospitality industries, this annual event showcases the new trends in haute cuisine through a range of activities, debates and conferences, as well as through the products and tools created by companies for the gourmet gastronomic industry
This year's edition of the conference was attended by some of the most important chefs from the world arena, each bringing their own experience and personal culinary concept. Among them were two Spanish chefs: Jordi Roca and Albert Adrià.
Jordi Roca shared the foundations for building a restaurant like El Celler de Can Roca – number two in the world in 2016 according to Restaurant Magazine – where Jordi is the pasty chef, forming a triumvirate with brothers Joan, the head chef, and sommelier Josep.
Curiosity, courage and knowledge were how Jordi Roca summed up the keys to El Celler de Can Roca's success at the beginning of his presentation. One of his initiatives for driving these three concepts is spending every Tuesday morning working on training sessions with his team from the restaurant, and professionals from sectors that are seemingly unrelated to the world of gastronomy: biologists, botanists, designers, etc.
Jordi Roca focused his talk on explaining the fifteen pillars that form his culinary style and that synthesize the creative method of El Celler de Can Roca: learning, memory, tradition, innovation, landscape, product, wine, perfume, humor, color, freedom, poetry, transversal creation, magic and courage.
These explanations were accompanied by the preparation of several of his most emblematic dishes on stage. Memory translates into the use of recollections and flavors from childhood. The appetizers that were served when Jordi and his brothers were children have been reimagined. "Aromas and flavors last much longer than we think", he commented, making reference to a text by Marcel Proust.
Jordi Roca also presented a recipe in which each flavor comes from a different wine. "The wine around a dish and the dish around the wine", the pastry chef explained. This idea also yielded his edible perfumes concept, the deconstruction of food products to obtain their essence and bottle it. Other non-edible items such as old books, or the sheep's wool, are likewise used in the cuisine of the Roca brothers. Jordi prepared a mousse that is infused with the aromas of a cigar box with tobacco leaves that have been blanched five times and cooked. As a finishing touch, whiskey jelly, powdered vanilla and chocolate.
Albert Adriá's turn came on Monday afternoon. The younger brother of Ferran, Albert was the pastry chef and creative director of the research workshop at elBulli. His talk centered on his current project, El Barri, which he referred to as "a gastronomic amusement park in the Barcelona neighborhood of Poble Sec, featuring different styles of cuisine", each one linked to a restaurant.
The first of them, Bodega 1900, captures the spirit of a classic establishment where music and aromas are both in good measure. A constant shared by all of the restaurants in this project is the quality of their product, without which, "there could be no good food". Adrià highlights the emotion of taste as the substance of a good dish, given that the techniques that made elBulli famous are now imitated far and wide. This Barcelona chef pointed to the chipirones (cuttlefish) and the pickled mussels – both prepared traditionally – as examples of how the product can trump the technique.
Tickets is bigger and it is the economic flagship of the project. It already has a Michelin star, just two years after opening. "I open restaurants to make money, not for the recognition, but if it comes so soon – even better", Adrià admits. The money has made it possible to buy space, time and a team.
Nikkei, or Japanese-Peruvian cuisine, has found a home at Pakta. Another of the group's restaurants is Niño Viejo, a traditional Mexican restaurant, whose modern counterpoint is Hoja Santa, a restaurant that earned a Michelin star it's very first year. Adrià underlines the difficulty of transporting these foods in good condition and the work that goes into seeking out the "non-folksy" Mexico.
Enigma is the newest offering, which is not yet open. This large stone, glass and metal space is where Albert Adrià will go back "to making desserts after six years". He seeks to capture different styles in a single restaurant, darkness in the kitchen and light in the dining room, and a dining experience that lasts for more than two hours. An adjoining space will be used by a team for developing gastronomic consulting initiatives.
This pastry chef presented a coffee ice cream millefeuille, cold fused overnight, and a beet yuzu meringue (gelatinous, die cut and dried) with a beet and orange sorbet.
Additionally, the conference was supported by the participation of a wide range of companies specializing in gourmet food products. Of particular interest was the stand of the Consorcio de Jamón Serrano Español, managed by the Spains’ Trade Commission in Düsseldorf; as well as the stands belonging to Spanish companies González Byass (the Jerez winery), Pordamsa (porcelain designers and manufacturers for chefs), Josper (manufacturer of charcoal ovens) and Sosa Ingredients (producer of gourmet ingredients); and the Spanish products exhibited in the stand of German company Otto Gourmet.
This year's edition of the conference was attended by some of the most important chefs from the world arena, each bringing their own experience and personal culinary concept. Among them were two Spanish chefs: Jordi Roca and Albert Adrià