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Joan Roca: “As chefs, we have to go into the woods with broad vision"


At Andorra Taste, El Celler de Can Roca demonstrates all the potential of wild flora for gastronomy. 

For years El Celler de Can Roca*** (Girona) has focused on conducting research and teaming up with erudite scientists to further its knowledge of the surroundings, and take it back to the kitchen. On stage at El Prat del Roure, Joan Roca recalled the project “Terra Animada” (Living Land) they set up with botany biologist Evarist March. A project seeking to "recover knowledge of El Celler de Can Roca's wild surroundings with scientific rigour”.

“Generations ago" - Roca declared - "much more was known about the flora there, and it was used in cookery, but when we became much more urbanite, the knowledge was gradually lost, and that's why it's important to retrieve it now”. But this is no more than a first step because, as the chef went on, more has to be done and "we have to go into the woods with a broader vision, and inspect the entire cycle of each plant". Something that will help discover parts of the plant which may not have been used before, but which could prove useful in terms of any new aspects they may contribute. 

In this regard, Joan Roca declared, it is most important to apply conservation techniques to these stalks, roots, flowers, bulbs or fruits to enable "the same plant's flower and fruit to be used in a single recipe". Uncovering the entire potential of a product is the basis of this philosophy applied by El Celler de Can Roca within a 50 km radius of the restaurant, which obviously includes the entire supply of flora in Girona's Pyrenees. 

In order to illustrate his talk, the chef showcooked two recipes in which he not only used wild plants, but also singled out other mountain products that help shape the surroundings: lamb and wild boar. 




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