Chefs from world’s best restaurant treat bank’s clients

September 21, 2015

The chefs from the world’s best restaurant took hundreds of BBVA Compass clients on a culinary journey this summer that would ordinarily require a passport and nearly a year-long stay on a waiting list.

The Roca brothers of Spain’s El Celler de Can Roca — which earned the coveted No. 1 spot on Restaurant magazine’s World’s 50 Best Restaurants list again in 2015 — shuttered their restaurant for five weeks and brought a pop-up version of it to Miami, Birmingham, Ala., and Houston for bank clients. It was the second year in a row they’d come to the U.S. as part of a tour sponsored by BBVA Compass’ parent company, BBVA.

“They’re three humble brothers who caught the culinary bug by working in their parents’ working-class tavern in Girona, Spain, and powered their way to the top of the intensely competitive world of haute cuisine,” said BBVA Compass Chairman and CEO Manolo Sánchez.
“There’s a magic harmony about them that says a lot about the power of family, of teamwork, of vision and the pursuit of excellence.”

The Roca brothers are known for their intense creativity and continuous innovation. Joan Roca is considered a pioneer in sous-vide, a cooking process where food is vacuum-packed and cooked in water. He developed the Roner, a professional sous-vide cooking device. Josep Roca, the sommelier, meanwhile, has won over critics with his unorthodox wine pairings and techniques.

And Jordi Roca, the pastry chef, won the World's Best Pastry Chef Award 2014. The judges called him “part chef, part architect, part magician” and an “eccentric but modest genius,” citing his work recreating famous perfumes in edible form.

Sánchez said partnerships like BBVA’s with the Roca brothers are the frontier of affinity marketing, where companies connect with clients in ways that are tangible but not so much about the literal business.




Related links

• A look inside the Roca brothers’ wildly delicious culinary world (Forbes Travel Guide, Sept. 4, 2015)
• The Roca brothers return to Houston with El Celler de Can Roca tour (Houston Eater, Aug. 28, 2015)
• This is what dinner by one of the world's best restaurants looks like (USA Today, Aug. 26, 2015)
• Dinner with the Roca brothers of El Celler de Can Roca (Houston Press, Aug. 26, 2015) 
• 13 nosy questions for the Roca brothers (My Table, Aug. 26, 2015)
• Roca brothers bring number one restaurant in the world to Miami for a pop-up dinner event (Chat Chow TV, Aug. 25, 2015)
• World's best restaurant owners visit Houston for three nights of culinary genius (Houston Chronicle, Aug. 21, 2015)
• Why Birmingham was chosen to host the No. 1 restaurant in the world (Birmingham News, Aug. 20, 2015)
• The Roca brothers talk Mexican food & what they eat at 4 a.m. (Ocean Drive, Aug. 20, 2015)
• A night in Birmingham with the Roca brothers (Cooking Light, Aug. 20, 2015)
• Last night, the world’s best restaurant set sail on Biscayne Bay (Miami New Times, Aug. 13, 2015)
• Receta de cocina: aprende a cocinar coco verde con langostino  (Telemundo- Un Nuevo Día, Aug. 13, 2014)
• Inside El Celler De Can Roca's epic Miami pop-up dinner, (Miami Eater, Aug.13, 2015)
• El Celler de Can Roca, world’s best restaurant, popping up at Intercontinental (Miami New Times, Aug. 12, 2015)
• Roca brothers, chefs of number one restaurant in the world, discuss their pop-up dinner in Miami (Miami Eater, Aug. 12, 2015)

“We share with our clients an experience we’re both passionate about, and connect in a very emotional way,” he said. “And I can tell you that our clients have been blown away. We’re honored to give them this experience. It says a lot about who we are as a bank, what we value, and what we bring to bear as part of a global enterprise.”

The brothers kicked off the U.S. leg of their tour in Miami aboard the 228-foot SeaFairMiami, the fourth-largest private yacht in the country. Clients took in the views of Biscayne Bay as they enjoyed an 18-course meal topped off by “Viaje a La Habana” (A Trip to Havana), a chocolate dessert infused with cigar smoke.

Next stop: Birmingham, which serves as the bank’s technology hub and is also a recent addition to Zagat’s America’s Next Hot Food Cities list. Chef Joan Roca told reporter Julia Sayers that he was impressed by how green the city is and its abundance of local produce. For the client dinner at Vestavia Country Club, the brothers served guests their own interpretation of fried green tomatoes, with a liquefied green tomato purée with jalapeño peppers, and pieces of fried green tomatoes and bacon.

During their final stop in Houston, the Rocas drew from the city’s history, serving “What Does the Moon Taste Like, Houston?” to honor the nearby NASA Johnson Space Center.

“We have imagined what the moon would taste like,” Josep Roca told Houston Chronicle Food Editor Greg Morago, explaining the dish’s mix of truffles.

The second BBVA-sponsored tour is part of the bank’s three-year partnership with El Celler de Can Roca. It began Aug. 1 in Buenos Aires and closed in Istanbul, Turkey, on Sept. 3. Click here for BBVA’s full coverage of the tour.