What do you do when you win one of the biggest awards in the food world? If you're the Roca brothers, chef owners of El Cellar de con Roca in Girona, Spain, and you've just snagged the title of World's Best Restaurant, you decide it's time for a road trip. And so, after they were declared #1 by the World's 50 Best Restaurants in 2013, Joan Roca (head chef) and his brothers Jordi (pastry chef) and Josep (sommelier) decided they wanted to learn something new. Specifically, they were transfixed by South America and Mexico. And so, in August 2014, they closed their restaurant for five weeks and went on a six-city tour with their entire crew.
Starting in Texas, the brothers stopped in Mexico City and Monterrey in Mexico, Bogotá, Colombia, and Lima, Peru. It was both a give and take journey—the Rocas cooked dinners in the chosen cities, they met small producers, and they picked up indigenous ingredients. In the process, they also trained 7,000 students (13 of them scored scholarships to train at El Cellar de Con Roca). When they got home, the Rocas created 57 brilliant new dishes based on their travels.
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It's cool enough to know that the brothers challenged themselves to do this. It's even cooler to watch the process in a mesmerizing documentary, Cooking Up a Tribute, which is available, starting today, May 10th, by digital download through Amazon, ITunes, GooglePlay, Xbox and Vudu. In it, you can watch the team dive into molecular avocado tacos and barbecue-sauced fritters. You can also see Juan describe the importance of Peruvian Tiger's Milk ("If you've been out all night partying..." he explains) while he works to imprint a frozen lozenge of the stuff with the face of a tiger.