Toast to culinary alchemy

Toast to culinary alchemy
(Above, far right) Josep, Jordi (centre) and Joan Roca from three Michelin-starred El Celler de Can Roca, pose at The Macallan cellars.

It must be nice being at the top of the Restaurant Guide's World's 50 Best list. Everybody wants to be your friend, nobody gets angry about waiting a year for a reservation, and major distillers like The Macallan knock on your door, saying, "Hello, would you like to visit our cellars and taste our special one-cask whiskies that no mere mortal gets to try?"

The Roca brothers certainly aren't complaining.

It's a cool, sunny April morning in Girona, Spain. Their restaurant - the three Michelin-starred El Celler de Can Roca - sits in perpetual picture-postcard perfection with its charming country house facade hiding a state-of-the-art kitchen and cellar within its sleek interior.

Today, 60 journalists from around the world mill around, sipping on whisky cocktails as they await news of one of the most unique culinary tie-ups of the year: six ultimate dinners featuring the Rocas's innovative Catalan cuisine and the best of Macallan's iconic single malts.

If you're a haute diner with a charitable heart and US$10,000 (S$12,600) to spare, you'll want to clear your diary for the months of June and July.

That's when The Macallan Masters of Taste sees roughly 150 people sampling the results of a collaboration designed to test the depth of the Roca brothers' skills. Net profits from the dinners will go to charity, in line with The Macallan's philanthropic ethos.

The company is owned by the Robertson Trust, a Scottish foundation which gives out some US$25 million a year to deserving causes.

This marriage of gastronomy and premium spirits is firing up the creativity of two top guns in the food and beverage industry. The affinity between food and wine has long been established, but food and whisky? It's rare for such a pairing to be explored, especially at such a high level, but the Rocas are quick to take up the gauntlet.

"We've always been non-conformists and we're constantly seeking new challenges," says oldest brother Joan Roca, who masterminds the restaurant's creative direction with master sommelier Josep and pastry whiz Jordi.

Thanks to their new visibility as World's No 1, "We get a lot of proposals for different things, so we have to be selective. But the collaboration with The Macallan is a springboard into a new world that will allow us to grow professionally and personally."

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