Carme Ruscalleda

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Carme Ruscalleda (2018)

Carme Ruscalleda i Serra (* 1952 in Sant Pol de Mar ) is a Catalan cook . Its three restaurants have been awarded a total of seven Michelin stars .

As of early 2015, this makes her the woman with the most Michelin stars worldwide.


Carme Ruscalleda's parents, Ramón Ruscalleda and Núria Serra, ran a small grocery store in Sant Pol de Mar. There they sold wine and dairy products from the region and vegetables from their own garden. Over time, the shop transformed into a meat delicatessen. At the behest of her father, she completed a commercial apprenticeship, but in her parents' household she developed culinary skills as an autodidact .

With her partner Toni Balam, she invented plate dishes for street sales. In 1975 the two married.

At first they pursued the idea of ​​running a meat shop where customers would also be offered meals. But then they decided to start a restaurant. They found a suitable house directly opposite their parents' house, in the form of a former hostel. The family supported her with cash donations. In the summer of 1988 they opened the Sant Pau . She took over the kitchen, he took over the guest room. At the beginning the restaurant was only open for lunch. Was offered traditional Catalan cuisine: pasta casseroles ( Canelones ), Braised ( Guisos ), salads, assorted cheeses, pates. Most of the guests came from Barcelona and mostly in the summer.

Gradually they refined and expanded the menu. In 1991, the first Michelin star was the reward for their efforts. With the star, the circle of guests expanded. The second star followed in 1996.

Japanese entrepreneur and regular Yuji Himoyama advised them to open a branch in Tokyo . They hesitated for three years, but then Ruscalleda and Balam were persuaded to go to Tokyo. In 2004 they opened the Sant Pau de Tokyo .

In 2005, the third Michelin star followed for the restaurant in Sant Pol de Mar. Ruscalleda was the first woman in Spain to receive such an award.

The son Raül was born in 1976, the daughter Mercè in 1982. Raül followed his mother's career as a chef, organized the opening of Sant Pau de Tokyo and is now, at the beginning of 2015, head chef at her restaurant Moments in Barcelona.

In July 2018, it announced that it would close Sant Pau in Sant Pol de Mar on October 27, 2018. Thereafter, the Sant Pau is to be converted into a bar run by her daughter with a study kitchen.


Ruscalleda propagates "healthy, fresh, delicious and enjoyable food". In her book Recetas antiaging she advocates the concept of health- promoting antioxidants . Together with her son Raül Balam, she designs dishes that follow this concept. At the moment when Raül Balam is the head chef, such dishes appear on the menu. Plenty of fish and vegetables determine the menu. “A clear, transparent, by no means fat and by no means tough kitchen, easy to digest and attractive to look at” is another ideal that she follows.

She uses the products of her region, the Maresme , and the products of Japan to achieve this. “Nature has to appear on the table,” she says. She has practiced the cuisine of the region from the very beginning, long before this became common practice in high-class gastronomy.

She also wants to please her guests with the arrangement of the dishes. “If they had a gray day, they should see the sun rise on their plate.” She drapes strips of vegetables like a picture of Mondrian , the fresh peas on the edge of the plate appear as a kind of vegetable caviar, and a green tea dessert looks like this the roof of a Catalan hut.

Gambas sobre torrada marinera are a starter on their winter menu 2014/2015 . The soft bread is soaked in a seafood broth and then toasted. The dish is supposed to arouse anticipation, like the anticipation of children for the arrival of the fishing boats. A dessert made from green and black olives, olive oil and chocolate should be reminiscent of the snack in an olive grove. Her petits fours , the tidbits with coffee, are shaped like little beasts, for example like a dragon based on Antoni Gaudí , with a ginger biscuit , red pepper, cocoa and lemon.

Her colleague Fina Puigdevall, who also cultivates innovative regional cuisine, namely that of the Garrotxa , judges Ruscalleda:

"Está impregnada de paisaje y estacionalidad, pero es una estacionalidad que trasciende porque al ofrecernos los productos más representativos de cada momento del año de una manera delicada, sensual y con un ritual oriental, casi litúrgico, nos hace observar inconscientemente el día , la vida natural, asociando la experiencia de las diversas etapas de la vida a las virtudes de sus manjares. "

“It is shaped by the country and the season, but goes beyond the season, because it offers the products that best characterize every moment of the year in a delicate, sensual way, in an oriental ritual, almost liturgical. Through the quality of her food, she makes us unconsciously contemplate the day, the year and life in nature, combined with the experience of the various stages of life. "

- Fina Puigdevall : El País

With the Japanese branch, a Catalan-Japanese symbiosis developed in Ruscalleda's restaurants. The guiding principles are the same: respect for nature, consideration for the season, purity of the products.

Dashi de romesco is an example of this : the brew is a basic component of Japanese cuisine, the sauce is one of the oldest dishes in Catalonia. It contains kombu , katsuobushi , grilled tomato, Ñora , dried fruit, a few sprinkles of mirin, and soy sauce. A variant of this Japanese-Catalan sauce is refined with black garlic and truffles .

Vegetables are wrapped in gelatin sheets made with seawater. Daikon is served with the cheese of the month . Following the Asian model, they even dared to use jellyfish in paella . A sea ​​anemone dish is now on the menu. Also plankton is processed in the kitchens Ruscalledas. Another example of the joy of experimentation in their kitchens is the use of delicate cactus leaves. They are blanched , roasted and served with the fish in the form of crispy cords.


Sant Pau in Sant Pol de Mar

Ruscalleda's former regular restaurant was awarded three Michelin stars. It was in a restored house from 1881 with a garden and a sea view. The house is in the center of the village, above the beach and the railway line. Carme Ruscalleda closed the restaurant in mid-2018.

Sant Pau de Tokyo

The Sant Pau de Tokyo has been awarded two Michelin stars. The elegant garden restaurant is located in the Nihombashi district in the middle of a park.

Twice a year, in May and November, the Ruscalleda-Balam couple travel to Tokyo. Jérôme Quilbeuf is the head chef in both Sant Pol de Mar and Tokyo. The year-round connection between the two kitchens is maintained via Skype .

Moments in Barcelona

The Moments is the hotel restaurant of the Hotel Mandarin Oriental in Barcelona. It also has two Michelin stars.


Carme Ruscalleda taught science and cuisine courses at Harvard University .


Carme Ruscalleda has received numerous awards, including

  • Premio Nacional de Gastronomia
  • Creu de San Jordi
  • Medalla de Oro al Mérito en las Bellas Artes
  • Medalla de Oro al Mérito en el Trabajo


Notes and original quotations

  1. Comida sana, fresca, sabrosa y placentera
  2. Una cocina límpida, transparente, nada grasa, nada espesa, de buena digestión y visualmente atractiva
  3. la naturaleza debe desfilar por la mesa
  4. si (…) han tenido un día gris, notes que sale el sol en su plato
  5. Prawns on toasted bread, sailor-style
  6. a kind of paprika with small round pods

Individual evidence

  1. Unless otherwise specified, this article is based on the portrait of Rosa Rivas in El País semanal from January 19, 2015
  2. a b Carme Ruscalleda , biography at La Enciclopedia Biográfica en Linea , accessed on January 25, 2015
  3. Mejor Jefe de Cocina ( Memento of the original from April 24, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , Real Academia de Cocina website, accessed January 25, 2015 @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  4. Creus de Sant Jordi 2004 , website of the Generalitat de Catalunya , accessed January 25, 2015
  5. ^ Ruscalleda, Tusquets y Molinas reciben la Medalla de Mérito al Trabajo , La Vanguardia , April 18, 2012, accessed January 25, 2015

Web links

Commons : Carme Ruscalleda  - collection of images, videos and audio files
  1. Spanish star chef Ruscalleda closes restaurant . Article dated July 6, 2018, accessed July 7, 2018.
  2. ^ Pau Arenós: Carme Ruscalleda cierra el Sant Pau para "reinventarse". In: El Periódico. July 6, 2018, accessed January 21, 2020 (Spanish).