2011 Roux Scholar Mark Birchall to complete his winning stage at El Celler de Can Roca in Spain

by Kerstin Kühn, Monday 25th July 2011 11:35

Mark Birchall, the 2011 winner of the Roux Scholarship, will travel to Spain next year to complete his winning stage at the three-Michelin-starred El Celler de Can Roca in Girona.

Birchall, head chef at the Michelin-starred L'Enclume in Cartmel, Cumbria, won the prestigious culinary competition in April at his fourth attempt at the title.

He said he chose El Celler de Can Roca, which is run by brothers Joan, Josep and Jordi Roca, because of its innovative cooking methods.

"I chose it because they use unusual techniques but they still respect regional traditions and produce," he said. "It's run by three brothers who will be there the whole time, which will be exciting and offer a great opportunity for me to learn and develop my skills."

"There are loads of good places in the surrounding area to visit too - it's close to Barcelona and Can Fabes, which I'm keen to eat at and there's plenty to do in the region."

Scholarship founder Michel Roux added: "I admire Mark; his choice was instant and yet is the result of much thought. This is one of the top restaurants in Europe and will help him take his culinary skills to new heights.

"I am greatly looking forward to visiting him there during his stage, I'm sure he will do well and no doubt the visit will be a real eye-opener for me too."

The Roca brothers are the third generation to run restaurants after their grandparents, who opened an inn in Sant Marti de Llemana in 1929,

and their parents who launched El restaurante de Can Roca in 1967.

The three brothers first opened El Celler de Can Roca in 1986 next to their parents' restaurant, with Josep as sommelier and manager, Joan as head chef and Jordi as pastry chef.

The restaurant has held Michelin's top accolade of three stars since 2009.

2011 Roux Scholarship: Mark Birchall on winning the prestigious prize >>

Spain gains a seventh three-Michelin-starred restaurant >>

By Kerstin Kühn

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