·Jordi Roca: “I met highly motivated students keen to learn new techniques”
·Jérôme Quilbeuf: “This course is a great idea”
·Pere Plangumà: “High level cuisine can be created on yachts too”
The course Cooking and Gastronomy for Superyachts that was held in October at the Food and Nutrition Campus of the University of Barcelona (UB) has left a very good taste in the mouth of the immense majority of students who took it and the teachers who gave it. The course, conceived by Sirius Barcelona (the department for new business in the nautical company Varador 2000), and organized jointly by them and the Campus, marks a before and after in the area of gastronomic education applied to the nautical sector, as there has never before been a course like this.
For Jordi Roca, the course “was a welcome surprise. I encountered highly motivated students who were keen to learn new techniques and procedures. You can tell they had travelled around the world and knew their trade”. The master of desserts at El Celler de Can Roca (3 Michelin stars and best restaurant in the world in 2013 and 2015 according to the journal Restaurant), who dedicated a session on the course to explaining the secrets of his avant-garde cooking, hopes that what “the students learned on the course they will be able to apply correctly on the yachts where they work”.
Equally positive was Jérôme Quilbeuf, head chef at the Sant Pau (3 Michelin stars). Quilbeuf, who thinks the course “is a great idea”, said that he tried “to instil in the students that they are professionals and that working on a yacht is a unique opportunity to be creative and broaden their repertoire of recipes by taking advantage of the best of the gastronomic culture of every country they visit”. Quilbeuf, who applied exactly this theory during his long stay in Japan in order to be able to start up the Carme Ruscalleda restaurant in Tokyo (2 Michelin stars), focused his session on demonstrating in detail some of his most prized recipes “so they can make them on board or wherever, but with one basic premise: we are all working with health in mind and a healthy diet must come before creativity”, states the chef who agreed with Roca that the students were very motivated and “followed the classes with great interest”.
Pere Planagumà, another of the instructors on the course, thinks that due to the type of students on Cooking and Gastronomy for Superyachts it is one of the most interesting courses he has given, “as it brings the cutting-edge cuisine currently provided in leading restaurants to cooking on yachts”. The chef is sure that on boats –“these small floating restaurants”– you can also “create high level cuisine and I think that the students understood that well”. Planagumà, who explained the techniques he uses in the restaurant Les Cols (2 Michelin stars), states that he found “quite a similar level among the students on the course. If I had to rate their culinary and gastronomic knowledge I’d give them an 8.5, which is not bad at all”.
Another international leading chef, Gaggan Anand, explained that “it was very gratifying to explain the secrets of my cooking to such a special audience. I noted huge interest from most students on the course in learning new things and applying them in their kitchens. I’m sure they are all great professionals and I hope not to have disappointed them”. Anand, who trained at Ferran Adrià’s Bulli, heads the restaurant Gaggan in Bangkok (best restaurant in Asia 2015 and 2016 according to the journal Restaurant), where he creates top level and avant-garde Indian cuisine. The chef, who captivated students during the last session of the course, said: “I must congratulate the course organizers. I think it was a great idea to bring modern cookery to superyacht chefs”.
The students also thought the course was a great success. After the session with Gaggan Anand, Brigitte Rosseman said: “it was incredible, so much knowledge… You think you know something and he shows you that you don’t know anything. It’s never too late to learn. Gaggan was relaxed and amusing and he showed us that cooking is the real religion”. Rosemann, originally from South Africa, is currently living in Miami.
The Jamaican David Wilbor was also effusive about the course: “I loved it. It was fantastic. All the teachers gave excellent classes, very high level, and the course organization was great. I’m really pleased”. Chris O’Malley, another of the twenty-eight students who attended the Cooking and Gastronomy for Superyachts for two intense weeks, thinks the course “was really good, with the added extra of meeting some amazing people”. Sirius Barcelona has done “a great job organizing, I’m really grateful for everything”.
For Sirius Barcelona organizing this course was “a huge challenge and a unique experience”, given how difficult it was to “bring together such a high level teaching team and with such motivated and professional students”. The course was also an education in itself so the company would like to “thank everyone for counting on us”, as this will no doubt have an impact on the next editions of the course, “which will be even better”.
As well as the chefs mentioned above, other great names in the gastronomy arena gave classes to the nautical chefs, such as Christian Escribà, Jordi Guillem (Lo Mam), Carles Tejedor (Olimotion), Joao Alcántara (Alquimia Fogo), Felipe Celis (CETT), Marc Álvarez (head of cocktails at the barriAdrià, owned by the Adrià brothers), Georgina Regàs, Patrícia Schmidt, Porto-Muiños, Agustí Torelló, Óscar Manresa, Ferran Centelles, Sebastián Mazzola and Paul Healy, while the academic coordination was led by Pere Castells.