Jordi Roca, one of the three Roca brothers of the world renowned restaurant El Celler de Can Roca in Girona took centre stage at Chef Sache, the Cologne avant garde cuisine festival. He spoke about what goes into the creative process at El Celler de Can Roca and the importance they attach to innovation and creativity and was the highlight of the day as could be seen from the crowd that gathered to take photos with the pastry chef at the end of his presentation on creativity and the creative process at the restaurant that is celebrating 30 years this year.
Also on stage on the first day of Chef Sache was Poul Andrias Zizka, chef of Faroe Islands restaurant KOKS and Jonnie and Therese Boer from De Librije.
The first international chef to take the stage was Poul who spoke about his cuisine in the Faroe Islands, a remote group of islands north of Denmark where as he himself said has more sheep than people. Here he focuses mainly on seafood and fish which reaches the restaurant 15 minutes after it is taken out of the sea. He believes that the fish and shellfish tastes the best in the Faroe Islands first because of the freshness and also because the sea temperature does not change and this has an impact on the quality of the food. He is also using fermentation techniques not only for vegetables and these skills were also showcased during his presentation.
Jonnie and Therese Boer spoke about the new restaurant De Librije which opened earlier this year after 25 years in an old location. “We did it for ourselves. There was no need to change but change is important and we feel that it has given us the energy to be more creative,” they said. The husband and wife duo, who also organise Chefs Revolution every two years have made Zwolle the culinary heart of the Netherlands. Jonnie has been putting vegetables and fermentation at the forefront of his cuisine for 25 years before this became in vogue. He believes that there are always new things to discover. “When you are enthusiastic about your job, you will always find new things together with my team,” he said. Therese spoke about how crucial it was to listen to your guests adding that people know much more about food and wine than they did a few years ago.
Jordi Roca then gave a great presentation about the experience at El Celler de Can Roca, how they work to innovate on a daily basis. “We started 30 years ago and the beginning was very humble. Lots of things have happened over the past 30 years and we hope to have many more years ahead.” The restaurant is run by three brothers, each in charge of a different section of the restaurant. The motto of the restaurant is curiosity, daring, knowledge and they have created a laboratory where they share their own values with the team. Over the past year they have decided to close on Tuesdays and use this day to experiment and interact with each other which allows them to explore new avenues.
He explained how they recreate the smells and flavours through distillation when they serve certain dishes. Edible old book or lamb wool? “We distill the flavours to make something unedible, eatable,” he said.
Earlier during the day, young German chefs discussed the future of dining during a panel discussion and then presented their restaurants on centre stage. These were Sarah Henke, Maria Groß, Billy Wagner and Micha Schafer, and Felix Scheneider.
Chef Sache is organised every year by Port Culinaire and Food Events.