This article describes and discusses an experiment we carried out at El Celler de Can Roca, a vanguard restaurant in Girona, Spain. In this experiment we tested the possibility of characterizing and measuring our team's sensory capacity, arguing that research on the senses within experimental cooking should also include cultivation of sensible knowing. Our findings confirmed that instead of thinking about sensory capacities that reside in the individual alone, we should change our model for one that speaks of sensible skills where the communal is of crucial importance. Throughout our discussion we highlight awareness, imagination, and empathy as three important sensible skills for culinary practice, and make a final point about how such skills can be cultivated and taught to a restaurant's team.
From Sensory Capacities to Sensible Skills: Experimenting with El Celler de Can Roca
Ana María Ulloa is a PhD candidate in Anthropology at the New School for Social Research. In her dissertation she explores flavor as a scientific, commercial, and gastronomical object. She conducted multi-sited fieldwork in the United States and Spain in scientific research institutes, flavor companies, and high-end restaurants.
Josep Roca is funder, head maître, and sommelier (or as he likes to call himself in Spanish, camarero de vinos, wine waiter) of the Spanish restaurant El Celler de Can Roca, recognized with the “Best Restaurant Award” by the magazine Restaurant in 2013 and 2015.
Héloïse Vilasecais a chemical engineer specializing in the fields of science and cooking who has collaborated with the Alicia Foundation, Harvard University, and now currently runs La Masia (R&D department) at El Celler de Can Roca.
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Ana María Ulloa, Josep Roca, Hèloïse Vilaseca; From Sensory Capacities to Sensible Skills: Experimenting with El Celler de Can Roca. Gastronomica 1 May 2017; 17 (2): 26–38. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/gfc.2017.17.2.26
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