We met Jordi Morera , Chef Owner of Carosel, in 2009. He was teaching a cooking class called Arroces de tu abuela ( your grandmother’s rice dishes) and we thought it would be great fun to attend. It was and an after-class conversation with Jordi led to an invitation to eat at Seu Xerea where he was executive chef. The following Monday Marty and I found ourselves seated in front of our first puchero. Puchero, a very traditional Valencian dish, is a bountiful array of meats and vegetables and the stock they are cooked. The stock is then served with chickpeas, and noodles and the meat and vegetables are served separately.
It was wonderful. We visited with Jordi as he shared his culinary point of view. He is committed to using fresh, local and organic product. He even cultivates some of the produce he uses. His cooking is deeply rooted in traditional Spanish cooking and most particularly Valencian cooking. However, Jordi does not stop there. He is highly innovative, finding ways to present the flavors of traditional dishes with a new and fanciful flair.
When we returned to Valencia the next year we discovered Jordi was no longer at Seu Xerea. In March of 2010, he had opened his own restaurant, Carosel, near the Mercado Central. Needless to say, we had to give it a try. It is a modern and open space with indoor seating for 50 and an ample terrace seating 48.
It has become one of our favorite places. It has also become the place we choose to celebrate special occasions because we know we can count on Jordi to create just the right experience for the occasion.
Marty’s Birthday Feast
Jordi arrived and we crossed the street to the Mercado Central where he would do a little of the day’s shopping. As we walked, Jordi gave me a bit of his history. He started cooking at 16. When I asked why he had chosen to be a chef, he thought for a moment and simply said, “ I like to eat.” He learned to cook by working in restaurants, reading book, taking cooking courses and ultimately attending Bella Mar Escuela de Hostelería (Bella Mar Hotel School) in Marbella. Over the last 25 years he has cooked in Madrid, Barcelona, Venice, Milan, the Spanish Embassy in Rome and, of course, here in Valencia.
We arrived at the market and he led me to the stand that sells preserved fish. He explained the ancient way of preserving fish was salting it or putting it in olive oil. It was clear from the variety in the case that preserved fish is very popular in Spain.
With purchases complete we returned to the restaurant and Jordi began the preparations for the days .
First order of the day was making the bread. Jordi took out a masa madre (sour dough starter) and went to work.
Next on t0 the estofada de rabo de toro(oxtail stew).
Jordi salts the meat and returns his attention to the bread, taking a few minutes to feed the masa madre and shape the bread for the first rising.
He adds a generous amount of red wine to the estofada. Time to knead the bread for the second rising.
Preparation of the fish stock for the paella is the next order of the day.
Jordi’s assistant Eva arrives and prepares the potatoes and onions for what will become tortilla de patata y jamón fría y caliente(Hot and cold potato and ham omlette ). While tasting exactly like a tortilla de patata, it is a dance of textures and temperatures.
The last rising of the bread is complete and the dough ready for the oven.
Talk about your multi-tasking.
Eva begins to assemble the bote de escalibada, con puré de calabaza y queso fresco texturizado y salsa de perejil ( jar of cooked vegetables, puré of pumpkin, creamy cheese and parsley sauce).
It is nearing 1:30, the doors open and a few early customers are seated in the patio
The easy pace of the morning changes to a flurry of activity as the first orders come in and the “tabla de entrants” is assembled.
Taula de Canvis 6, Valencia, 46003
In the Carmen, near the Mercado Central
961 132 873