New recipes

Chef Joan Roca of Spain’s Famed El Celler de Can Roca Shares His Vision of the Future

Chef Joan Roca of Spain’s Famed El Celler de Can Roca Shares His Vision of the Future


We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

Chef Joan Roca laughed out loud when I asked him if he is going to retire at some point. Anyway, his commute to work can never be the reason, because he lives right above El Celler de Can Roca, his windows overlooking the picturesque patio garden. He credits that proximity for the recent interest in the family business by his teenage son, Marc, and his brother Josep’s son, Martí. The next generation of Rocas accompanied the three brothers on their last world tour, and Roca believes that the adulation showered on their fathers by fans on the trip may have something to do with that interest.

Chef Joan Roca Fontaine and his brothers, Josep (an internationally-recognized sommelier) and Jordi (one of the top pastry chefs in the world), are the force behind the avant-garde El Celler De Can Roca, which has come to represent the best of modern Spanish cuisine. The original restaurant opened in 1986 next to their parents’ bar on the outskirts of Girona. In 2007, the whole establishment moved to its present location in one afternoon between lunch and dinner service, per French chef Michel Troisgros’ son Cesar, an intern at the time. Can Sunyer, originally a country house, was remodeled with a modern aesthetic to accommodate the expansive kitchens, dining rooms, and gardens.

The three Roca brothers studied at the Girona Culinary School, and Joan, the head chef, worked and traveled with Spanish chefs such as Ferran Adrià and Santi Santamaria but always stayed close to his family and hometown. The exemplary hospitality at the three-Michelin-starred restaurant has its roots in this close-knit family culture. The restaurant has been a family operation since its inception, and Joan says the creative processes at the restaurant are the result of the three minds working together in harmony. The triumvirate is reflected in the logo’s symbolic ‘R’ with three shoots, in the triangular glass-walled dining room, and the three-sided enclosed garden, which at first glance appears to be an art installation with fallen leaves on the ground. On their recent menu, a cutout of the three in their childhood home is a backdrop to one of the courses, giving guests a peek into that family history. A few months ago, the course entitled “Memories of a Bar in the Suburbs of Girona” (their parents’ bar) included breaded squid, kidneys with sherry, pigeon bobon, salt cod with spinach, and a Campari bonbon.

The brothers share their annual travels and explorations with their diners in the tasting menu as “The World,” presented at the table in signature black/gray Japanese paper lanterns that open to reveal five tastes from exotic locales such as Korea, Peru, Thailand, Japan, and China. A lamb course on the fall menu — with eggplant, chickpea purée, lamb trotters, and spicy tomatoes — was inspired by the team’s time in Turkey earlier in the year. I asked about their last world tour, and Joan said, “It was fantastic, and we visited four continents and five cities: London, Hong Kong, San Francisco, Phoenix, and Santiago, Chile, on this whirlwind trip. It was crazy, but we will continue to embark on these adventures.”

This passion, represented in the restaurant’s modernistic cuisine with undertones of nostalgia and the complex techniques developed in their research kitchen, constantly sets the culinary world on edge. Jordi’s desserts are equally brilliant and unforgettable. My favorite from a previous visit, “Chocolate Anarchy,” lost out to the “Orange Colorology,” a delicate blown sugar bauble filled with the tastes of passion fruit, tangerine, orange, and carrot gels and granita, on the tasting menu on my most recent visit.

Packing the house of every congress or food event at which they speak or demonstrate their culinary skills, from the San Sebastián Gastronomika to Harvard University, the brothers are a significant force in the culinary world. El Celler de Can Roca has been voted No. 2 and No. 1 on the by The Diners Club World's 50 Best Restaurants Academy for the past two years. The annual shuffle of the top five of the World’s Best has also made it one of the most challenging restaurant reservations to land. They maintain an extensive research team at the restaurant, and Joan’s book Sous-Vide Cuisine is highly regarded in the culinary world.

He is a charming man, very grounded, serene, and unfazed by his fame and fortune. A family man, he goes to his parents’ restaurant for lunch, a meal cooked by his mother every day for the whole extended family that includes the 50 or so staff members. No surprise, the major influences on his cooking have been his mother, Montserrat, and grandmother, Angeleta, whom he refers to as his muse. His mother’s riz Catalan or cassola are still his favorite comfort foods, and he shared the recipe in his Roots cookbook a few years ago.

Conversing in the lounge, facing the sun-dappled interior courtyard, was déjà vu. My first interview with a chef in 2012 was with him sitting in the same spot.


Chef’s Table director David Gelb - 'Virgilio Martinez gives the performance of his life every night'

Why did series' creator and director David Gelb choose to place Virgilio alongside such world renowned gastronomic talents as Massimo Bottura, Magnus Nilsson, Dan Barber and Alex Atala from previous seasons? Are chefs the new rock stars? And what’s easier, to create - a Michelin-starred kitchen, or an award-winning show? We asked David to tell us.

Big name chefs occupy an interesting position in culture right now. Do you place them on a par with rock stars, movie stars, or is there a more accurate comparison? Chefs are artists, and there appears to be a growing audience excited to appreciate their work. I think of chefs like stage performers. It's never exactly the same twice. Each night, they have to make sure that they are giving the performance of their life. And when the food is consumed, it is gone, and just the memory lingers. It's like a play.

Are there any parallels between your work and theirs in terms of deadline pressures or public expectation? Chefs are both directors and producers. They have to raise money to start the business and keep it going. They have to get a great crew, train them, motivate them, and retain them. And the competition is fierce. I would say that directors of film of television have it easier, though, because once we finish a work it exists in perpetuity and is the same every time you play it. A chef has to perform at his or her highest level every single night. And if you have one bad night, it can totally destroy your business. I think being a chef is far more difficult.

How did Virgilio compare to the other chefs you've profiled in the series and who did he remind you of most? Virgilio Martinez is one of the most interesting and thoughtful chefs in the world, so it was a no brainer to include him. In some ways he reminds us of Alex Atala and Francis Mallmann in that he is an adventurer, and someone who takes all the elements of his homeland, even the altitudes in which the ingredients are found, into deep consideration in creating his menu.

What was he like to direct? We imagine it was quite collaborative In order to be a great chef you have to be able to communicate to rally your team and inspire them to follow your vision, and Virgilio is no exception. Virgilio and the episode director, the illustrious Clay Jeter, collaborated from the very beginning to figure out the best approach to tell the story together. From allowing us to invade his kitchen to going on adventures in the mountains together, Virgilio was with us the whole way and we are grateful for it.

What’s next for you after the Chefs’ Table series? We're excited to continue making Chef's Table and are currently in talks with Netflix about a future season. I've also been involved with virtual reality and have recently directed the first ever VR doc series, called The Possible which is about inventors of amazing machines and it is available on the VR app Within.


Chef’s Table director David Gelb - 'Virgilio Martinez gives the performance of his life every night'

Why did series' creator and director David Gelb choose to place Virgilio alongside such world renowned gastronomic talents as Massimo Bottura, Magnus Nilsson, Dan Barber and Alex Atala from previous seasons? Are chefs the new rock stars? And what’s easier, to create - a Michelin-starred kitchen, or an award-winning show? We asked David to tell us.

Big name chefs occupy an interesting position in culture right now. Do you place them on a par with rock stars, movie stars, or is there a more accurate comparison? Chefs are artists, and there appears to be a growing audience excited to appreciate their work. I think of chefs like stage performers. It's never exactly the same twice. Each night, they have to make sure that they are giving the performance of their life. And when the food is consumed, it is gone, and just the memory lingers. It's like a play.

Are there any parallels between your work and theirs in terms of deadline pressures or public expectation? Chefs are both directors and producers. They have to raise money to start the business and keep it going. They have to get a great crew, train them, motivate them, and retain them. And the competition is fierce. I would say that directors of film of television have it easier, though, because once we finish a work it exists in perpetuity and is the same every time you play it. A chef has to perform at his or her highest level every single night. And if you have one bad night, it can totally destroy your business. I think being a chef is far more difficult.

How did Virgilio compare to the other chefs you've profiled in the series and who did he remind you of most? Virgilio Martinez is one of the most interesting and thoughtful chefs in the world, so it was a no brainer to include him. In some ways he reminds us of Alex Atala and Francis Mallmann in that he is an adventurer, and someone who takes all the elements of his homeland, even the altitudes in which the ingredients are found, into deep consideration in creating his menu.

What was he like to direct? We imagine it was quite collaborative In order to be a great chef you have to be able to communicate to rally your team and inspire them to follow your vision, and Virgilio is no exception. Virgilio and the episode director, the illustrious Clay Jeter, collaborated from the very beginning to figure out the best approach to tell the story together. From allowing us to invade his kitchen to going on adventures in the mountains together, Virgilio was with us the whole way and we are grateful for it.

What’s next for you after the Chefs’ Table series? We're excited to continue making Chef's Table and are currently in talks with Netflix about a future season. I've also been involved with virtual reality and have recently directed the first ever VR doc series, called The Possible which is about inventors of amazing machines and it is available on the VR app Within.


Chef’s Table director David Gelb - 'Virgilio Martinez gives the performance of his life every night'

Why did series' creator and director David Gelb choose to place Virgilio alongside such world renowned gastronomic talents as Massimo Bottura, Magnus Nilsson, Dan Barber and Alex Atala from previous seasons? Are chefs the new rock stars? And what’s easier, to create - a Michelin-starred kitchen, or an award-winning show? We asked David to tell us.

Big name chefs occupy an interesting position in culture right now. Do you place them on a par with rock stars, movie stars, or is there a more accurate comparison? Chefs are artists, and there appears to be a growing audience excited to appreciate their work. I think of chefs like stage performers. It's never exactly the same twice. Each night, they have to make sure that they are giving the performance of their life. And when the food is consumed, it is gone, and just the memory lingers. It's like a play.

Are there any parallels between your work and theirs in terms of deadline pressures or public expectation? Chefs are both directors and producers. They have to raise money to start the business and keep it going. They have to get a great crew, train them, motivate them, and retain them. And the competition is fierce. I would say that directors of film of television have it easier, though, because once we finish a work it exists in perpetuity and is the same every time you play it. A chef has to perform at his or her highest level every single night. And if you have one bad night, it can totally destroy your business. I think being a chef is far more difficult.

How did Virgilio compare to the other chefs you've profiled in the series and who did he remind you of most? Virgilio Martinez is one of the most interesting and thoughtful chefs in the world, so it was a no brainer to include him. In some ways he reminds us of Alex Atala and Francis Mallmann in that he is an adventurer, and someone who takes all the elements of his homeland, even the altitudes in which the ingredients are found, into deep consideration in creating his menu.

What was he like to direct? We imagine it was quite collaborative In order to be a great chef you have to be able to communicate to rally your team and inspire them to follow your vision, and Virgilio is no exception. Virgilio and the episode director, the illustrious Clay Jeter, collaborated from the very beginning to figure out the best approach to tell the story together. From allowing us to invade his kitchen to going on adventures in the mountains together, Virgilio was with us the whole way and we are grateful for it.

What’s next for you after the Chefs’ Table series? We're excited to continue making Chef's Table and are currently in talks with Netflix about a future season. I've also been involved with virtual reality and have recently directed the first ever VR doc series, called The Possible which is about inventors of amazing machines and it is available on the VR app Within.


Chef’s Table director David Gelb - 'Virgilio Martinez gives the performance of his life every night'

Why did series' creator and director David Gelb choose to place Virgilio alongside such world renowned gastronomic talents as Massimo Bottura, Magnus Nilsson, Dan Barber and Alex Atala from previous seasons? Are chefs the new rock stars? And what’s easier, to create - a Michelin-starred kitchen, or an award-winning show? We asked David to tell us.

Big name chefs occupy an interesting position in culture right now. Do you place them on a par with rock stars, movie stars, or is there a more accurate comparison? Chefs are artists, and there appears to be a growing audience excited to appreciate their work. I think of chefs like stage performers. It's never exactly the same twice. Each night, they have to make sure that they are giving the performance of their life. And when the food is consumed, it is gone, and just the memory lingers. It's like a play.

Are there any parallels between your work and theirs in terms of deadline pressures or public expectation? Chefs are both directors and producers. They have to raise money to start the business and keep it going. They have to get a great crew, train them, motivate them, and retain them. And the competition is fierce. I would say that directors of film of television have it easier, though, because once we finish a work it exists in perpetuity and is the same every time you play it. A chef has to perform at his or her highest level every single night. And if you have one bad night, it can totally destroy your business. I think being a chef is far more difficult.

How did Virgilio compare to the other chefs you've profiled in the series and who did he remind you of most? Virgilio Martinez is one of the most interesting and thoughtful chefs in the world, so it was a no brainer to include him. In some ways he reminds us of Alex Atala and Francis Mallmann in that he is an adventurer, and someone who takes all the elements of his homeland, even the altitudes in which the ingredients are found, into deep consideration in creating his menu.

What was he like to direct? We imagine it was quite collaborative In order to be a great chef you have to be able to communicate to rally your team and inspire them to follow your vision, and Virgilio is no exception. Virgilio and the episode director, the illustrious Clay Jeter, collaborated from the very beginning to figure out the best approach to tell the story together. From allowing us to invade his kitchen to going on adventures in the mountains together, Virgilio was with us the whole way and we are grateful for it.

What’s next for you after the Chefs’ Table series? We're excited to continue making Chef's Table and are currently in talks with Netflix about a future season. I've also been involved with virtual reality and have recently directed the first ever VR doc series, called The Possible which is about inventors of amazing machines and it is available on the VR app Within.


Chef’s Table director David Gelb - 'Virgilio Martinez gives the performance of his life every night'

Why did series' creator and director David Gelb choose to place Virgilio alongside such world renowned gastronomic talents as Massimo Bottura, Magnus Nilsson, Dan Barber and Alex Atala from previous seasons? Are chefs the new rock stars? And what’s easier, to create - a Michelin-starred kitchen, or an award-winning show? We asked David to tell us.

Big name chefs occupy an interesting position in culture right now. Do you place them on a par with rock stars, movie stars, or is there a more accurate comparison? Chefs are artists, and there appears to be a growing audience excited to appreciate their work. I think of chefs like stage performers. It's never exactly the same twice. Each night, they have to make sure that they are giving the performance of their life. And when the food is consumed, it is gone, and just the memory lingers. It's like a play.

Are there any parallels between your work and theirs in terms of deadline pressures or public expectation? Chefs are both directors and producers. They have to raise money to start the business and keep it going. They have to get a great crew, train them, motivate them, and retain them. And the competition is fierce. I would say that directors of film of television have it easier, though, because once we finish a work it exists in perpetuity and is the same every time you play it. A chef has to perform at his or her highest level every single night. And if you have one bad night, it can totally destroy your business. I think being a chef is far more difficult.

How did Virgilio compare to the other chefs you've profiled in the series and who did he remind you of most? Virgilio Martinez is one of the most interesting and thoughtful chefs in the world, so it was a no brainer to include him. In some ways he reminds us of Alex Atala and Francis Mallmann in that he is an adventurer, and someone who takes all the elements of his homeland, even the altitudes in which the ingredients are found, into deep consideration in creating his menu.

What was he like to direct? We imagine it was quite collaborative In order to be a great chef you have to be able to communicate to rally your team and inspire them to follow your vision, and Virgilio is no exception. Virgilio and the episode director, the illustrious Clay Jeter, collaborated from the very beginning to figure out the best approach to tell the story together. From allowing us to invade his kitchen to going on adventures in the mountains together, Virgilio was with us the whole way and we are grateful for it.

What’s next for you after the Chefs’ Table series? We're excited to continue making Chef's Table and are currently in talks with Netflix about a future season. I've also been involved with virtual reality and have recently directed the first ever VR doc series, called The Possible which is about inventors of amazing machines and it is available on the VR app Within.


Chef’s Table director David Gelb - 'Virgilio Martinez gives the performance of his life every night'

Why did series' creator and director David Gelb choose to place Virgilio alongside such world renowned gastronomic talents as Massimo Bottura, Magnus Nilsson, Dan Barber and Alex Atala from previous seasons? Are chefs the new rock stars? And what’s easier, to create - a Michelin-starred kitchen, or an award-winning show? We asked David to tell us.

Big name chefs occupy an interesting position in culture right now. Do you place them on a par with rock stars, movie stars, or is there a more accurate comparison? Chefs are artists, and there appears to be a growing audience excited to appreciate their work. I think of chefs like stage performers. It's never exactly the same twice. Each night, they have to make sure that they are giving the performance of their life. And when the food is consumed, it is gone, and just the memory lingers. It's like a play.

Are there any parallels between your work and theirs in terms of deadline pressures or public expectation? Chefs are both directors and producers. They have to raise money to start the business and keep it going. They have to get a great crew, train them, motivate them, and retain them. And the competition is fierce. I would say that directors of film of television have it easier, though, because once we finish a work it exists in perpetuity and is the same every time you play it. A chef has to perform at his or her highest level every single night. And if you have one bad night, it can totally destroy your business. I think being a chef is far more difficult.

How did Virgilio compare to the other chefs you've profiled in the series and who did he remind you of most? Virgilio Martinez is one of the most interesting and thoughtful chefs in the world, so it was a no brainer to include him. In some ways he reminds us of Alex Atala and Francis Mallmann in that he is an adventurer, and someone who takes all the elements of his homeland, even the altitudes in which the ingredients are found, into deep consideration in creating his menu.

What was he like to direct? We imagine it was quite collaborative In order to be a great chef you have to be able to communicate to rally your team and inspire them to follow your vision, and Virgilio is no exception. Virgilio and the episode director, the illustrious Clay Jeter, collaborated from the very beginning to figure out the best approach to tell the story together. From allowing us to invade his kitchen to going on adventures in the mountains together, Virgilio was with us the whole way and we are grateful for it.

What’s next for you after the Chefs’ Table series? We're excited to continue making Chef's Table and are currently in talks with Netflix about a future season. I've also been involved with virtual reality and have recently directed the first ever VR doc series, called The Possible which is about inventors of amazing machines and it is available on the VR app Within.


Chef’s Table director David Gelb - 'Virgilio Martinez gives the performance of his life every night'

Why did series' creator and director David Gelb choose to place Virgilio alongside such world renowned gastronomic talents as Massimo Bottura, Magnus Nilsson, Dan Barber and Alex Atala from previous seasons? Are chefs the new rock stars? And what’s easier, to create - a Michelin-starred kitchen, or an award-winning show? We asked David to tell us.

Big name chefs occupy an interesting position in culture right now. Do you place them on a par with rock stars, movie stars, or is there a more accurate comparison? Chefs are artists, and there appears to be a growing audience excited to appreciate their work. I think of chefs like stage performers. It's never exactly the same twice. Each night, they have to make sure that they are giving the performance of their life. And when the food is consumed, it is gone, and just the memory lingers. It's like a play.

Are there any parallels between your work and theirs in terms of deadline pressures or public expectation? Chefs are both directors and producers. They have to raise money to start the business and keep it going. They have to get a great crew, train them, motivate them, and retain them. And the competition is fierce. I would say that directors of film of television have it easier, though, because once we finish a work it exists in perpetuity and is the same every time you play it. A chef has to perform at his or her highest level every single night. And if you have one bad night, it can totally destroy your business. I think being a chef is far more difficult.

How did Virgilio compare to the other chefs you've profiled in the series and who did he remind you of most? Virgilio Martinez is one of the most interesting and thoughtful chefs in the world, so it was a no brainer to include him. In some ways he reminds us of Alex Atala and Francis Mallmann in that he is an adventurer, and someone who takes all the elements of his homeland, even the altitudes in which the ingredients are found, into deep consideration in creating his menu.

What was he like to direct? We imagine it was quite collaborative In order to be a great chef you have to be able to communicate to rally your team and inspire them to follow your vision, and Virgilio is no exception. Virgilio and the episode director, the illustrious Clay Jeter, collaborated from the very beginning to figure out the best approach to tell the story together. From allowing us to invade his kitchen to going on adventures in the mountains together, Virgilio was with us the whole way and we are grateful for it.

What’s next for you after the Chefs’ Table series? We're excited to continue making Chef's Table and are currently in talks with Netflix about a future season. I've also been involved with virtual reality and have recently directed the first ever VR doc series, called The Possible which is about inventors of amazing machines and it is available on the VR app Within.


Chef’s Table director David Gelb - 'Virgilio Martinez gives the performance of his life every night'

Why did series' creator and director David Gelb choose to place Virgilio alongside such world renowned gastronomic talents as Massimo Bottura, Magnus Nilsson, Dan Barber and Alex Atala from previous seasons? Are chefs the new rock stars? And what’s easier, to create - a Michelin-starred kitchen, or an award-winning show? We asked David to tell us.

Big name chefs occupy an interesting position in culture right now. Do you place them on a par with rock stars, movie stars, or is there a more accurate comparison? Chefs are artists, and there appears to be a growing audience excited to appreciate their work. I think of chefs like stage performers. It's never exactly the same twice. Each night, they have to make sure that they are giving the performance of their life. And when the food is consumed, it is gone, and just the memory lingers. It's like a play.

Are there any parallels between your work and theirs in terms of deadline pressures or public expectation? Chefs are both directors and producers. They have to raise money to start the business and keep it going. They have to get a great crew, train them, motivate them, and retain them. And the competition is fierce. I would say that directors of film of television have it easier, though, because once we finish a work it exists in perpetuity and is the same every time you play it. A chef has to perform at his or her highest level every single night. And if you have one bad night, it can totally destroy your business. I think being a chef is far more difficult.

How did Virgilio compare to the other chefs you've profiled in the series and who did he remind you of most? Virgilio Martinez is one of the most interesting and thoughtful chefs in the world, so it was a no brainer to include him. In some ways he reminds us of Alex Atala and Francis Mallmann in that he is an adventurer, and someone who takes all the elements of his homeland, even the altitudes in which the ingredients are found, into deep consideration in creating his menu.

What was he like to direct? We imagine it was quite collaborative In order to be a great chef you have to be able to communicate to rally your team and inspire them to follow your vision, and Virgilio is no exception. Virgilio and the episode director, the illustrious Clay Jeter, collaborated from the very beginning to figure out the best approach to tell the story together. From allowing us to invade his kitchen to going on adventures in the mountains together, Virgilio was with us the whole way and we are grateful for it.

What’s next for you after the Chefs’ Table series? We're excited to continue making Chef's Table and are currently in talks with Netflix about a future season. I've also been involved with virtual reality and have recently directed the first ever VR doc series, called The Possible which is about inventors of amazing machines and it is available on the VR app Within.


Chef’s Table director David Gelb - 'Virgilio Martinez gives the performance of his life every night'

Why did series' creator and director David Gelb choose to place Virgilio alongside such world renowned gastronomic talents as Massimo Bottura, Magnus Nilsson, Dan Barber and Alex Atala from previous seasons? Are chefs the new rock stars? And what’s easier, to create - a Michelin-starred kitchen, or an award-winning show? We asked David to tell us.

Big name chefs occupy an interesting position in culture right now. Do you place them on a par with rock stars, movie stars, or is there a more accurate comparison? Chefs are artists, and there appears to be a growing audience excited to appreciate their work. I think of chefs like stage performers. It's never exactly the same twice. Each night, they have to make sure that they are giving the performance of their life. And when the food is consumed, it is gone, and just the memory lingers. It's like a play.

Are there any parallels between your work and theirs in terms of deadline pressures or public expectation? Chefs are both directors and producers. They have to raise money to start the business and keep it going. They have to get a great crew, train them, motivate them, and retain them. And the competition is fierce. I would say that directors of film of television have it easier, though, because once we finish a work it exists in perpetuity and is the same every time you play it. A chef has to perform at his or her highest level every single night. And if you have one bad night, it can totally destroy your business. I think being a chef is far more difficult.

How did Virgilio compare to the other chefs you've profiled in the series and who did he remind you of most? Virgilio Martinez is one of the most interesting and thoughtful chefs in the world, so it was a no brainer to include him. In some ways he reminds us of Alex Atala and Francis Mallmann in that he is an adventurer, and someone who takes all the elements of his homeland, even the altitudes in which the ingredients are found, into deep consideration in creating his menu.

What was he like to direct? We imagine it was quite collaborative In order to be a great chef you have to be able to communicate to rally your team and inspire them to follow your vision, and Virgilio is no exception. Virgilio and the episode director, the illustrious Clay Jeter, collaborated from the very beginning to figure out the best approach to tell the story together. From allowing us to invade his kitchen to going on adventures in the mountains together, Virgilio was with us the whole way and we are grateful for it.

What’s next for you after the Chefs’ Table series? We're excited to continue making Chef's Table and are currently in talks with Netflix about a future season. I've also been involved with virtual reality and have recently directed the first ever VR doc series, called The Possible which is about inventors of amazing machines and it is available on the VR app Within.


Chef’s Table director David Gelb - 'Virgilio Martinez gives the performance of his life every night'

Why did series' creator and director David Gelb choose to place Virgilio alongside such world renowned gastronomic talents as Massimo Bottura, Magnus Nilsson, Dan Barber and Alex Atala from previous seasons? Are chefs the new rock stars? And what’s easier, to create - a Michelin-starred kitchen, or an award-winning show? We asked David to tell us.

Big name chefs occupy an interesting position in culture right now. Do you place them on a par with rock stars, movie stars, or is there a more accurate comparison? Chefs are artists, and there appears to be a growing audience excited to appreciate their work. I think of chefs like stage performers. It's never exactly the same twice. Each night, they have to make sure that they are giving the performance of their life. And when the food is consumed, it is gone, and just the memory lingers. It's like a play.

Are there any parallels between your work and theirs in terms of deadline pressures or public expectation? Chefs are both directors and producers. They have to raise money to start the business and keep it going. They have to get a great crew, train them, motivate them, and retain them. And the competition is fierce. I would say that directors of film of television have it easier, though, because once we finish a work it exists in perpetuity and is the same every time you play it. A chef has to perform at his or her highest level every single night. And if you have one bad night, it can totally destroy your business. I think being a chef is far more difficult.

How did Virgilio compare to the other chefs you've profiled in the series and who did he remind you of most? Virgilio Martinez is one of the most interesting and thoughtful chefs in the world, so it was a no brainer to include him. In some ways he reminds us of Alex Atala and Francis Mallmann in that he is an adventurer, and someone who takes all the elements of his homeland, even the altitudes in which the ingredients are found, into deep consideration in creating his menu.

What was he like to direct? We imagine it was quite collaborative In order to be a great chef you have to be able to communicate to rally your team and inspire them to follow your vision, and Virgilio is no exception. Virgilio and the episode director, the illustrious Clay Jeter, collaborated from the very beginning to figure out the best approach to tell the story together. From allowing us to invade his kitchen to going on adventures in the mountains together, Virgilio was with us the whole way and we are grateful for it.

What’s next for you after the Chefs’ Table series? We're excited to continue making Chef's Table and are currently in talks with Netflix about a future season. I've also been involved with virtual reality and have recently directed the first ever VR doc series, called The Possible which is about inventors of amazing machines and it is available on the VR app Within.