The chef with more Michelin stars


Carme Ruscadella, The Fusion of Japan and the Mediterranean

Montserrat Barba


Did you know that Tokyo’s Sant Pau restaurant has a cellar with more than 350 Spanish wines and two Michelin Stars? Here is the story of this Catalonian genius, the female chef with the most Michelin Stars in the world, famous for Did you know that Tokyo’s Sant Pau restaurant has a cellar with more than 350 Spanish wines and two Michelin sStars? Here is the story of this Catalonian genius, the female chef with the most Michelin Stars in the world, famous for her Japanese-Mediterranean fusion cuisine.


Carme Ruscalleda—the chef with the most Michelin stars in the world—was born in Sant Pol de Mar, a small town near Barcelona on Spain’s Mediterranean coast. Ruscalleda founded her first restaurant in 1988, with her husband Toni Balam. She comes from a family of farmers and merchants and began working when she was 16 years old in the family grocery store, which with time evolved into a fine delicatessen. As soon as the opportunity arose, Ruscalleda bought the premises in front of the store, a stately building from the 1880s, to establish her first restaurant—Sant Pau— where she put into practice new techniques and plenty of imagination to prepare food using seasonal products from the Maresme, as the Mediterranean is know around Catalonia.

Carme Ruscalleda Chef
Carme Ruscalleda.

Carme Ruscalleda stays true to a philosophy that “focuses on modern, creative, natural and healthy gastronomic values” and is aware that her success is based on Mediterranean traditions.

She earned her first Michelin star in 1991 and has never ceased to gather accolades and recognition. She is also known as the Grand Dame of Catalan cuisine. “For all the people that work with me, it is very gratifying to see how the prestige of our name grows. Our successes motivate and encourage us to continue offering special, unique and excellent gastronomy,” she says.

Carme Ruscalleda Chef
Sant Pau Restaurant in Sant Pol de Mar.

Carme Ruscalleda stays true to a philosophy that “focuses on modern, creative, natural and healthy gastronomic values” and is aware that her success is based on Mediterranean traditions. “It is the inspirational engine that drives our creativity, although we have influences of Japanese culture because we have been working with them for more than ten years”.

In fact, after her restaurant Sant Pau, in Sant Pol de Mar, was well consolidated within the gourmet society, in April 2004 Ruscalleda inaugurated a new restaurant in central Tokyo. With the same name and decor, she applied her knowledge to Japanese products and cuisine. For the chef, the two culinary traditions are perfectly linked. “Both Japanese and Mediterranean cuisine use fresh and seasonal products and achieve a harmonious balance in every recipe,” she says. “And both aim to offer healthy values, beautiful presentations, and clean flavors. For these reasons, we love to combine the two cultures”.

Carme Ruscalleda Chef
Sant Pau Restaurant in Tokyo.

Tokyo’s Sant Pau has a wine cellar with more than 350 wines from across Spain and, with its two Michelin stars, is already a reference in the competitive world of Japanese cuisine. Her third restaurant is in Barcelona at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, one of the most luxurious in the city. It opened in 2009 and has become one of the city’s most popular eateries.

Author of various gastronomic publications, Ruscalleda has just completed a book with 50 recipes featuring 10 different varieties of rice. Meanwhile, she travels, between Tokyo and Barcelona, to bring innovations to her restaurants and to teach new generations of cooks. “I tell them: this is a fantastic opportunity for your professional life, use only the best products, motivate your staff to be loyal to your culinary philosophy, work earnestly and with honesty and the gourmet society will compensate you with its loyalty”.  ■


© azureazure.com | 2019