We chat with Joan's mother, Josep and Jordi Roca, the three brothers who run El Celler de Can Roca, one of the best restaurants in the world
Montserrat Fontané has been cooking for half a century and even today, at 83 he continues to do so. Can Roca , the food house that she opened with her husband in 1967, was then on the outskirts of the city, a neighborhood where her husband drove the bus that daily passed in front of the family business. She was an enterprising woman when that term was not even used, and says it was very difficult to convince her husband to help her in the dining room. His children did since childhood. She is the mother of Joan, Josep and Jordi Roca, the architects of El Celler de Can Roca , one of the most recognized restaurants in the world. They and all the staff at El Celler eat the menu that the mother has prepared for them every day. They are about 70 people. "A lot of work," he says laughing. And then you have to attend to customers, three or four hours a day that nobody takes away from them. It does not seem to matter much to a woman who exudes vitality and good humor .What do the chefs and staff of one of the most famous restaurants in the world eat? Like everyone else, there would be more. Today, I cook rice with casserole, I do it, and grilled chicken. I charge 12 euros for the daily menu. It takes many years without raising prices ... If recently it was 11 euros, now 12. We give four or five first to choose and as many seconds. It eats well. And we have our usual clients, from the factory, the three schools, the institute ... How did you educate your children at lunchtime? They ate what they had, what we gave in the restaurant every day. It was not like now that we give 4 or 5 things to choose from, it was simpler. The business has been going up. I started working at age 12. And my children came from school and helped us serve in the dining room. Josep did it with skates, he was a comedian, he played with clients. They were little: now this could not be done. What has he transmitted to them? He taught them everything we did, to make sausages, of everything. Then when we buy the house next door [the current Celler de Can Roca], it occurs to me that they want to make a restaurant. I told them, "Yes, no." I bought the house when one of them got married, not because of me, because I already had enough. And when I realized, they had thrown the walls and made the restaurant; the two elders, because Jordi almost found it done. They were very young, right? Yes, Joan was 22 years old and Josep 19. Since you were little, you already saw them pointing ways, that they wanted to devote themselves to restoration? Joan yes. Josep didn't know what to do, and his brother told him "why don't you go to hospitality school, that with two years you get your degree." And he did it and he was happy, with his wine contests, he won prizes, and he arrived so happy. And Jordi likewise, he also went to the hospitality school, everyone has done the same. And as Jordi liked it so much, he did another year ... Because he was suspended for a year (laughs). He said he did not like cooking very much, but then a pastry chef came, he went to work with him and discovered his world. How did he do it so that the three children were so smart? Yes, they have a lot of intelligence, it is true , but we have not done anything. We are the way we are, we work and that's it. Which of your children did you see most aimed at the kitchen, Joan? Yes, at age 12 I had a cook jacket made for her, because of her size there was not, and still I have saved. He served the tables like a gentleman, he was very good and very formal. We had a lot of work, many people came, and he served. But Josep escaped what he could because he wanted to play football, he played as a goalkeeper. With Jordi, what happened was that one day a chef was missing, and he went to the kitchen, a waiter was missing and served in the dining room. And I thought, "This can't be, you have to do something." And when the English pastry chef Damián Allsop came, Joan told him, "why don't you go with him?" He got to work with him and coincidentally, by bad luck, after he had been there for a while, the baker broke his two legs, and while he was in the hospital Jordi worked as a lastist, and it worked out very well. And until today. And it does very well and is very comfortable. And he is with his brothers who can't be happy. It's curious they also get along very well with each other, something that doesn't happen in every family. And so much. Yes, they get along very well, thank God, even though working in the kitchen for many hours, with a lot of nerves, it's not always easy. Juan looks a lot like you, Josep more like his father and the little one is a mixture of You two In the way of being, who do you go out? Joan looks like her father in character. Those inventions he makes for cooking, that is where his father goes out, who has always been very handyman. As a child he already loved to do mecanos, ride cars, boats, what do I know. And Jordi too ... And Josep? The Pitu [which is what they call him familiarly], he likes wine, I don't know who he looks like ... -he laughs out loud-. The Pitu has been with the wine since he was little, that when he helped us serve the food he carried the wine bottles, and we always told him, watch out for the wine, because we had big boots and he filled the bottles. And the room also liked a lot, being with customers. Talking loves it. Joan is more shy, just like Jordi. When they all get together to eat, who cooks, you or your children? They cook and help you a little. In their homes, women do not cook. I say to my daughters-in-law, "How lucky are you, my mother." Do your children criticize you for any dish that you do and tell you how to do it? No, they prove what I have done and if they like it they don't say Nothing, they leave. And if they notice that something is missing, then they tell me. And they pay attention ... Sure, of course I pay attention to them. If they are right, you have to give it to them, there would be more. And vice versa? Do you often go to El Celler's menus? I go from time to time but very rarely, these people never have a table ... Gee, not even for their mother? They are always busy - laughs amused. sometimes. And I criticize them, especially something I tell them, "I don't know why you make this so small," and they laugh and ignore me. Do they like to eat everything or have a hobby? Josep can't stand raw tomato. As children, very small, it was hard to make them eat, all three. But now the three eat a lot. And what dishes do you prepare, which one do you prefer? Everything, but I think the cannelloni and rice are the best. What dish is better for you than for your children? They don't make big dishes like me, they make them so small ... They have never started preparing their recipes at El CellerNo, but they come to my kitchen to look for things and take them, snails for example. They take them out of the shell and I don't know how they serve them and what they do.
According to the criteria of