El Celler de Can Roca Announces Launch of World Tour in Houston
Photo by Mai Pham In a press conference yesterday, chef Joan Roca of El Celler de Can Roca announced his upcoming restaurant world tour, which is set to launch in Houston.
"We have an 11-month wait list right now," said chef Joan Roca apologetically when I inquired about dining at his restaurant, El Celler de Can Roca. Ranked among the top five restaurants in the world for six years consecutive years by Restaurant magazine, El Cellar de Can Roca reached the number one spot in 2013. Located outside of Girona, it is one of just seven three-star Michelin restaurants in Spain. It has fifty seats and receives approximately 3,000 email inquiries per day to fill them.
And this August, the whole entire restaurant is coming to Houston. Yes, Houston.
Roca, who was in Houston yesterday to announce details surrounding his upcoming culinary tour, said that the idea of closing down the entire restaurant to go on tour is something that's never been done before. In a press conference held at the Art Institute of Houston, where he also conducted a culinary master class yesterday morning, he said that his colleagues thought the idea crazy.
Photo by Mai Pham Chef Joan Roca conducted a master culinary class at the Art Institute of Houston yesterday. 12 students (six from Houston, six from Dallas) were selected to attend, along with members of the media.
"We have received numerous offers to open our restaurant in other parts of the world," Roca said in Spanish, which was translated by chef and Food Network star Ingrid Hoffman. "But we don't believe in the concept of opening another place, being there for a week, and heading back to our home and our restaurant in Girona. The only option is to close down the restaurant and take the entire restaurant on tour -- to travel with our entire team (approximately 30 people total) and recreate the whole restaurant experience."
Dubbed the "Roca World Tour," Roca and his brothers, Jordi and Josep, plan to close their restaurant for five weeks while they take their restaurant on the road late this summer. The tour is being sponsored by financial services firm BBVA Compass, which has entered into a three-year partnership with El Celler de Can Roca.
Photo courtesy of BBVA Compass Chef Roca puts a finishing touch on one of the dishes he made during his class.
"As part of a global bank, we're drawn to endeavors that transcend boundaries -- cultural, linguistic and, in this case, gastronomic," said BBVA Compass Chairman and CEO Manolo Sánchez. "The Rocas are universal in their approach to food -- bringing together tradition and modernity among other unlikely pairs -- and we honor that spirit with this tour."
"In August, the Roca brothers will take their award-winning restaurant, El Celler de Can Roca, on the road, traveling all the way from Girona, Spain to Houston, and Dallas, and then to Mexico and South America for a four-country world tour," Sánchez announced during the press conference. "In each country, the chefs will create private, multi-course dinners exclusively for BBVA clients."
"I am excited to announce that the tour will launch here in Houston, home to a vibrant culinary scene, where the Rocas will serve 300 dinners over three days, and then move to Dallas for 200 dinners over two days. It will then proceed to Mexico, Colombia and Peru."
This story continues on the next page.