May 19, 2014
Spanish financial services group BBVA announced Monday it is bringing three of
most prized personalities to the U.S.: the Roca brothers, whose El Celler de Can Roca has muscled its way to the top of the high-end restaurant world through the Rocas' wondrous techniques that honor tradition and push culinary boundaries.
The restaurant — run by head chef Joan, sommelier Josep, and pastry chef Jordi — landed on the top of Restaurant magazine's influential World's 50 Best Restaurants list in 2013. At a press conference Monday in
, the bank and
announced that all three brothers, along with 20 members of their staff, will shutter El Celler de Can Roca for five weeks this summer to travel to
and recreate their Girona,
-based restaurant for clients of BBVA Compass, BBVA Group's U.S. franchise.
"As part of a global bank, we're drawn to endeavors that transcend boundaries — cultural, linguistic and, in this case, gastronomic," said BBVA Compass Chairman and CEO
. "The Rocas are universal in their approach to food — bringing together tradition and modernity among other unlikely pairs — and we honor that spirit with this tour."
During Monday's press conference, Roca and bank officials announced details of the tour. The summer events in
will kick off a series of client dinners BBVA also will sponsor in other countries where it operates, including
. BBVA is sponsoring the chefs' tour as part of its three-year partnership with El Celler de Can Roca.
also detailed the scholarships BBVA is providing for four
chefs. Two students from
and two from
will have the opportunity to apprentice under the Roca brothers next year in El Celler de Can Roca. The four-month program begins in January. The scholarship includes airfare and housing in Girona as well as training at
University of Barcelona
"We consider it critical to support talent, and we want to help the next generation of chefs explore their skills and develop confidence in a collaborative environment,"
said. "Every year, more than 400 people apply to study in our training program and we are looking forward to working with the students from
Also on Monday,
taught a master cooking class to a dozen student chefs at the International Culinary School at the
Art Institute of Houston
. Chef and television personality
served as emcee during the class.
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.
, the sommelier, meanwhile, has won over critics with his unorthodox wine pairings and techniques. And
, 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.
BBVA Compass' Sanchez said the brothers, all at the top of their games in three demanding disciplines, epitomize the collaborative spirit in an industry known for its fierce competition.