Joan Roca and José Carlos García cooking together. / SALVADOR SALAS

Former pupil and his teacher cook up a storm for tenth anniversary

Michelin starred restaurant owners, Joan Roca and José Carlos García re-unite at the port and celebrate by cooking up a feast

MARINA MARTÍNEZ MALAGA.

Almost twenty-five years ago, Malaga born chef José Carlos García, served an internship at Michelin starred El Celler de Can Roca, under the legendary chef, Joan Roca.

Recently he entertained his teacher 'at home'. The two chefs got together to celebrate the tenth anniversary of José's restaurant at the port in Malaga. This tenth year has been full of special events, including a visit by another top chef, Martín Berasategui, in June.

Joan Roca helped the Malaga chef to create an 'unprecedented' menu which consisted of a white soup (ajoblanco) made with mackerel, camomile, lemon and capers. This was followed by grilled sole and Joan Roca's dessert made with sheep's milk ice cream, curd foam and yoghurt. José Carlos García made shrimps marinated with roasted pepper sauce, tomato porra with grilled sardines and yoghurt, and Iberian pork loin with stewed pears and pomegranate.

Admiration and affection

"We do this type of collaboration very occasionally. Such as cases like this one which, because of our admiration and affection, we couldn't miss," said Joan Roca.

José recalls his time at the Celler, "I wanted to eat the world, I stayed in the afternoon making oxtail because it was the only time I had, and the yaya (Joan's grandmother) scolded us because I was using too much gas." Times have changed, now with around 700 applications every year, Joan Roca cannot sit down with them all but he insists that the philosophy has stayed the same. "We were non-conformists and we wanted the people who came to our house to understand that the restaurant was a way of life, with a family dedicated to it, that we had it in our souls. José Carlos is one of the people we are most proud of for what he has achieved and for what he is like". And what is he like? Does he have something of the Celler? "I'd like to think that we left a mark", joked Roca.