It is the story of a culinary tradition that carries the weight of time and has evolved through the hands of both gastronomic experts and ordinary people. At times, Catalan cuisine was defined by exotic products from the Americas or the East, at others, hunger and deprivation shaped the inventiveness of its recipes. Both have added to the tradition in equally important ways.
Owner and chef Montserrat is from Catalunya. She studied Classics at the University of Barcelona and came to the UK 20 years ago, where she taught Spanish at Bristol and Cardiff universities and in 2012 she founded La Cuina. But her culinary story began on a farm in Barcelona province as a young girl when she peeled potatoes for 15 members of her family under the watchful eyes of her mother, whose own life started the same way.
Located in the foothills of the Pyrenean mountains, the farm’s cooking facilities have changed from an open fire to blue gas crowns to state of the art induction flameless and heatless equipment. However, the food still comes from the earth, and it is from this earth and this land that we’ve brought the best ingredients for the people of Cardiff to enjoy. From a humble table came wonderful smells and beautiful flavours. This is our ambition today in La Cuina, to re-create those flavours despite the distance in space and time.
We have sourced excellent artisan producers and our explorations continue. All our supplies come from small family businesses, which share a passion for what they do – they not only live the life but love the life. Many integrate knowledge of the past with the technical and academic resources of the present, creating new variations on ancient recipes.
At La cuina we have a clear philosophy. We will not compromise on quality. Food is a pleasure, a necessity and a way of life for us and for the producers behind all ingredients. Our wines have a low mark up for ethical and personal reasons. With inflated prices we would never be able to display this wealth of products and wines. Vineyards in Catalunya are small and often difficult to cultivate and there isn’t the overproduction one can find in other parts of Spain, therefore prices are not as competitive.