Catalan’s celebrated Carme Ruscalleda now has seven Michelin stars – more than any female chef in the world – two of which belong to her restaurant at Mandarin Oriental, Barcelona. Here, the chef supreme reveals the ingredients of her success

It is no secret that the most famous restaurants in the world proclaim the importance of both the freshness and preparation of ingredients in haute cuisine. I applaud the current trend in favour of local produce, and I am aware of how romantic the vision of the ‘chef at the market’ is, surrounded by an array of produce in different sizes and colours. This image brings together the professional cuisine and the gourmets, who value the quality of seasonal produce.

Since I opened the doors of my three restaurants – Sant Pau in Sant Pol de Mar, Sant Pau in Tokyo and Moments at Mandarin Oriental, Barcelona – it is fresh local produce that has influenced my daily gastronomic offer and each season’s menu. The promotion of seasonal produce may seem a modern trend, but, for me, it has always been my starting point and source of inspiration.

However, I think that the cuisine at my restaurants takes things a step further than the idyllic image of the chef at the market. My produce is the freshest possible, because it is delivered directly from the point of production to our kitchens every day, without passing through the market stalls.

My list of producers, who are both suppliers and able collaborators, is important, because the main goal of all the cooking as well as the research, which is carried out at the Kitchen Studio in Sant Pol de Mar – and which also serves the restaurants in Barcelona and Tokyo – is to thrill clients with the pure, pristine taste of each ingredient that goes into the tasting menu, appetisers, dishes and desserts. The food I offer has acquired its own hallmark – full of natural goodness, personality, freshness and flavour.

My gastronomic programme is not only for the emotional delight of gourmets, but also takes into account their health and nutrition. This is why the lunchtime offer at Moments includes an ‘anti-ageing’ menu, designed in collaboration with Dr Manuel Sánchez from the Clínica Planas in Barcelona.

It would be impossible to achieve my objectives – of pleasure, freshness, flavour, health and sensations – without my highly trained, competent staff, who are motivated by the brand philosophy. In all departments, from management to production to service, everyone works together to offer the luxury of a genuine product that is in total rapport with quality.

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