ICC was fortunate to have world-renowned Chef Joan Roca, Co-owner & Executive Chef of El Celler de Can Roca—named in the top five on Restaurant Magazine’s coveted World’s 50 Best Restaurants list since 2009, visit for the only demonstration and lecture in NYC this September.
The annual BBVA-sponsored world culinary tour brought Chef Roca and the culinary team of El Celler de Can Roca to New York City for two dinners at Cipriani Wall Street for invited diners to enjoy a taste of the contemporary Catalan cuisine showcased at their Girona, Spain-based restaurant. As part of this partnership, select International Culinary Center students were invited to work in the kitchen with Chef Joan Roca and the El Celler de Can Roca team to prepare for the dinners.
This special volunteer opportunity was only open to International Culinary Center students to cook alongside the Roca team for six consecutive days and learn some of their innovative techniques first hand. At the end of the event, Jeffrey Kim, one of the hand selected student volunteers, was chosen by the Roca team to receive a scholarship to continue his education through an internship at the El Celler de Can Roca restaurant. He will train for 4 months at the restaurant, which is currently ranked No. 2 restaurant in the world on the 2018 World’s 50 Best Restaurant list.
During Chef Roca’s demo, he shared the key concepts and philosophy that drives the restaurant’s innovative spirit. Read about three of the driving forces behind his team’s creativity, which were clearly displayed in the activities that took place throughout the week!
During Chef Roca’s demo, ICC students and alumni explored their curiosity as Chef Roca shared stories about his life, restaurant, and the importance of family. At El Celler De Can Roca, family is everything. The restaurant is in the same small town of Girona, Spain where he and his brothers grew up. Just down the street stands the restaurant their parents started 60 years ago.
Even though they are one of the best restaurants in the world, Chef Roca’s “Roca Lab,” where his team uses top of the line technology to invent new food for the restaurant, allows him and his team to always foster their curiosity. In order to stay the best, they must consistently learn and develop new ideas— the same goes for any restaurant in the world. Chef Roca told the students and alumni to “always remain curious.” Just as Chef Joan and his team came up with the idea to cook veal for 70 hours at 55ºF, our students will one day come up with new ideas for the culinary world as well!
For Chef Roca’s exclusive pop-up dinner, hosted through a long-term partnership with BBVA and the brothers, 8 courses were served using his signature sous vide techniques. From the world-renowned dish featuring 5 bites from their travels around the world, to the widely known prawn with vinegar dish, diners were wowed by his daring and inventive courses.
10 culinary and pastry students from ICC joined Chef Roca the week prior to the dinner to help prepare the 8-course menu and learn from Chef Roca and his team. Throughout this experience, the student’s education from ICC was brought to fruition as they sorted mushrooms by size, learned how to cook razor clams at a low temperature, and developed their plating skills with a man who is known for his precision and keen eye for design.
The third key concept of the Roca brother’s empire, knowledge, is also at the heart of ICC. With knowledge, our students are able to join their respective industries and succeed wherever they go with the skills and determination to build the culinary career they desire.
Knowledge is also a key factor in in how the Roca brother’s each became experts in their respective fields. They also possess a passion for sharing their knowledge with others, which is why in each city they travel to, they offer a culinary student the chance of a lifetime, to study beside them at their restaurant! Through demonstrating his exemplary knowledge, skill and hard work, ICC student Jeffrey Kim won a four month internship, all expenses paid, at their restaurant in Girona, Spain.
Jeffrey says that he is “…excited to be in the restaurant and learn the attention to detail that is required at the level of El Celler de Can Roca. Every day that we were learning from them, we learned so much, so to learn from the Roca team in a four month period will be exciting.”
We’re so proud of Jeffrey and all of the ICC students who were selected to volunteer with the El Celler de Can Roca team. They displayed a level of maturity and skill that matched the expertise of Chef Roca’s team well!