Earlier this spring, I had the distinct pleasure of watching a demonstration by Chef Jordi Roca, pastry chef at El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, Spain. Yesterday, El Celler de Can Roca was named the world's best restaurant. They beat out long-time list topper Denmark's Noma and Italy's Osteria Franciscana.

During the presentation, Roca said something that instantly made me go home and clean out my freezer. "The environment around ice cream has to be clean," he said. Why? "There is a lot of air in ice cream, and the environment of the air will impact the ice cream's flavor."

You know this all too well if you've left a pie cooling in a fridge containing stinky fish. Delicate foods, like ice cream, absorb flavors. Roca, I suspect, was speaking about the process of making ice cream. Flavors and odors in a kitchen can be absorbed by your ice cream base. But the same is true for your freezer: If you're an ice cream connoisseur or plan to make homemade ice cream this summer over and over again (as I do), it's important to keep your freezer clean of old items that might stink it up.


Roca was in Birmingham as part of the BBVA-sponsored VIP event, Corks & Chefs, at the 18th annual Magic City Art Connection. Later this summer, Roca, his two brothers, and their entire staff of El Celler de Can Roca will be in the United States on a culinary inspiration tour. They'll make stops in Miami, Houston, and Birmingham to prepare dishes for the bank's clients and guests.

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