When you think of the culinary scene in Spain, chances are El Bulli and Ferran Adria are the first things that come to mind. It’s true that the mad scientist of Spain has garnered much attention over the years. But, it’s another chef that is stealing the thunder these days. Chef Carme Ruscalleda’s Sant Pau restaurant is considered one of the finest dining experiences in Spain. Over the years, it has acquired four Michelin stars and an outpost in Tokyo, which has its own pair of stars. For much of the world, it took the closing of El Bulli to realize there was a whole restaurant scene in Spain that insiders were keeping to themselves and Chef Ruscalleda and her passion for Catalan tradition is at the center of it.
“I think women and men, in the culinary industry, we play the same game, because we pay the same taxes, the same price for products, for human resources and we put the same dedication and strength," Ruscalleda said. "Therefore, it’s in the hands of ourselves decide to join in. I’ve never felt vetoed by my colleagues for being a woman; quite the opposite, I keep a very pleasant and respectful with them.”
Inspired by nature, news, discoveries and the people and memories of her life, Ruscalleda is a trailblazer in the culinary field. She is the most awarded female chef in the world with an amazing seven Michelin stars for her restaurants in Spain and Japan.
But if you ask her, she won’t take all the credit. “I think that is the recognition of the work of a team that works with honesty and enthusiasm to provide the public the culinary philosophy of our brand, whether in Barcelona, or in Tokyo at San Pol de Mar,” she said.
The philosophy she speaks of starts in a familiar place: family. “As a child, I learned to cook and to respect the products in my house," Ruscalleda explains. "We were a rural and merchant family. When I was older, I realized that there was a whole world with very different and interesting culinary cultures.”
Next, Ruscalleda makes cooking a family affair...