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Monday, March 7, 2016

Tête à Tête #23: Rosa Maria Esteva: GRUPO TRAGALUZ_ Sun In the Morning and Moon at night.

This is my 23rd interview and I have interviewed quite a few prominent personages; but this has been the most interesting and interactive one. Rosa Maria Esteva is the co-founder of the group Tragaluz, along with her son, founded in 1987. What started as a bar is now an empire with 18 restaurants in Catalunya, Madrid, Mexico & Dubai.  It was the 1st time I met Rosa Maria Esteva and it didn't seem so.
I felt very comfortable and the conversation just flew. 
I met her at the Hotel Omm (part of Tragaluz), one of the coolest hotels in town. By the time she reached, she kept on talking and at the same time answering to phone calls and checking the lobby and the clients. 

I will try to retransmit the joy, energy and illusion of our talk. 
BelleBarcelone: How did it all start?
Rosa Maria Esteva: It started here. I was alone and started with this bar.I had four children, and came from a good family. I had not worked before but I knew how to cook. It was exactly in this space that I started. Can you see at the end the long table? That was my bar. It was a meeting point, in a long table where you could go in groups or alone. I was lucky that quite a few famous people such as Barcelo, Fernando Amat, Miserach or Mariscal came to the bar. It became quite trendy, a reference among la Gauche Divine; and different from the other bars: It was called Mordiscos.
I then opened Tragaluz and others. Each of my restaurant has its own soul so I took sometime to re open Mordiscos in front of Tragaluz. 

BB: Why this hotel is called OMM?
RME:The building where the hotel is, used to be a parking beside my first bar.  We opened it in 2000, it was the new milennium and wanted to transmit peace from where Om. Also I saw the numbered candles for the new millennium : MM and just named the hotel OMM. The restaurant in the hotel became Moo. 
This hotel has won many awards for its peculiar facade, I wanted  the client to  be able to see the road from the window in his room  without  being seen, that's why it's like that. 
BB: What's the formula of a successful restaurant?
RME: Quality product, good ambiance and a good quality/price ratio. 
BB: What do you think of the service in restaurants in Barcelona?
RME: In our group we have some members of our personal who are with us since 30 years. We keep them happy, we reward the best ones with exclusive prices. We take them on unique trips because they work hard and they deserve it. 
When the personal is happy, they transmit happiness, they are polite whereas in many places the service keeps on changing and you can get some incorrect behaviours from some of them. 
BB: How would you define the cuisine of Tragaluz?
RME: As I said each restaurant is different, depending on the atmosphere and the interior of the restaurant, the cuisine goes with the flow. It's a young spirit following tradition. We offer healthy food. 
BB: You have the Roca Brothers restaurant in your hotel. ( The Roca Brothers are the chef of the world best restaurant El Celler de Can Roca and have Roca Moo and Roca Bar in the Omm Hotel). How does it feel?
RME: They have become family. This place has become famous with them. When I asked them they didn't hesitate to open the restaurant in the hotel and I am glad now to have done so. 
BB: What's your favorite cuisine?
RME: I like trying new dishes. It depends on my mood. I like what is cooked with expertise. I like having different cuisines under the same roof. As you can see in many of our restaurants we have different dishes combining in perfection. On the same table you can have someone having a Thai curry or a couscous. 

We then discussed a bit more, about the family. Her son Tomas started with her, and now it's a big family empire. The children have created their own spaces; Tomas has his own group as well, Sandra is a well know interior designer, Carla has Cornelia & Co and A Contraluz and Raquel is in charge of Tragamar. A successful family and point of reference when it comes to the modern and world famous Catalan Cuisine. She showed me the plans of their new restaurant in Dubai. 
We also went to visit Tragaluz and Mordiscos. You can feel that she is very much loved and appreciated in this big successful group. 
Congrats Rosa! 
With Rosa M E.

With Rosa & Clementina, Pr at the Omm hotel. 

Looking at the light.

The Garden at Roca MOO: Smoke aubergine mousse on cacao powder, topped with steamed vegetables and truffle. 

These are her glasses designed specially for her: TRAGALUZ! 


A day with BelleBarcelone

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