Postre, in Spanish, means dessert, but postrero refers to something that comes in last. Jordi Roca has taken the liberty to give this word a new meaning. To him, being a postrero has a sense of vital importance and defines the way he interprets his profession. After all, he makes desserts, not pastries.
His formation in the world of sweets started not academically but very much in the manner of a dilettante, alongside Damian Allsop, a very talented Welsh pastry chef who arrived in El Celler de Can Roca in the 90s after a long journey through many great European restaurants. Allsop was in charge of the desserts at their restaurant at this time, and with him, Roca begun to understand the importance of desserts in cuisine, its specifications and singularity. He helped stimulate Roca’s curiosity, who was first his assistant and later, his successor.
Allsop provided Roca with the necessary tools to understand the reason behind sweet cuisine—its methods, precision and quick craftsmanship—and taught him patience, steadiness, confidence, and an obsessive commitment to the art. In the beginning, rules and quantification were the bases of instruction: Roca learnt why a soufflé foams up, the importance of tempering chocolate, why gelatin stiffens, how to blow sugar syrup like a craftsman making glass, and many more amazing things.
Then he began to have the possibility to create and to fly. Since then, he hasn’t stopped amusing, provoking, and surprising himself; dreaming, and especially, playing. He has been addicted to this sweet diversion for more than fifteen years and feels an absolute need to express himself through desserts. A walk, a landscape, an aroma, an anecdote, a sound, a transgression, an emotion—all paths can lead to creativity. Freedom and freshness. Radicalism and extremism. He likes to play on the edge, breaking molds with irreverence. Fantasy captivates him, and he explores his universe in the moment for dessert, far from the rigor and the seriousness offered by the heavier principal courses of the menu. Rock enjoys surprising the diner at the last moment of the meal, where pushing the boundary between the established and the fascinating is possible. He is the author of Anarkia and Co-Author of El Celler De Can Roca
What are you reading at the moment?
Fear of Freedom by Eric Fromm
What is your favorite thing to cook?
When did you first discover your love for food?
I don’t exactly remember, but I think I was in my mother’s womb.
Who influenced your career as a chef?
My brother Joan, Damian Allsop, Angelo Corvito and Ferran Adrià.
How many books on food and drink do you own?
Lots! I have never counted…
If you could only own 3 books, which would you pick?
Laura Esquivel’s Como agua para chocolate (Like Water for Chocolate)
Patrick Süskind’s Perfume: The Story of a Murderer
Cervante’s El Quijote
What books do you feel are important reading for people in the food industry?
Plated Desserts from El Bulli by Albert Adrià,
Chocolate by Ramon Morató
On Food & Cooking by Harold McGee.
Can you remember how the opportunity to write your first book came about?
My first book was a compilation of some articles including my recipes I used to publish in a Catalan magazine called Cuina. When the editor and I found out that we have already published more than 80 recipes, the idea came to us, why don’t we mock them up with beautiful pictures in a book and share them?
Is there a book that you’ve read more than once? What is it and why did you revisit it?
Many as I love to reread the books I like. I don’t have a lot of time to read so I often revisit books.
What is the book that you feel has had the single biggest impact on your life?
It was one of Garfield comic collections, it was just too funny. When I was 9 I had an appendectomy and I couldn’t stop laughing while reading Garfield! Even if my sutures were hurting!! It was the first book I read from cover to cover and it helped me get rid of my childhood fear of books. 🙂
Who is your favorite chef and why?
My brother Joan Roca. He’s the best!
What do you think is the most overrated food trend?
Trend criticism itself.
What is one kitchen tool you just can’t live without?
My Brain 😛
What’s your favorite food city?
If you could invite 3 people to dinner who would they be? (living or deceased)
Obelix – if possible I’d like for this great feast to be in the end of one of his comics. 🙂