#KiloCookingBeats—Raices rolls into its seventh edition on Thursday, 31st August with Jordi Noguera as he presents a delectable line up of Spanish dishes. Born in Prats de Lluçanès, Barcelona, Spain, Jordi grew up in a family of chefs, which gave him a head start in the culinary world and knowledge beyond his years. Since then, he worked in multiple prestigious restaurants in Spain before relocating to Singapore in 2012, where he headed FoodBar DaDa. Jordi now practices his culinary skills as an executive chef and co-owner at the FOC group of restaurants (FOC Restaurant, FOC Sentosa and FOC PIM PAM) with a continuous effort to bring the Barcelona experience to Singapore. We caught up with him ahead of his session:

You grew up surrounded by a family of chefs—tell us more about the experiences that you’ve had in and around the kitchen growing up.

I have had quite a lot of experiences, in and around… since my father was a chef, I spent my teenage years helping out at his restaurant. To be frank, I cannot say that I was too happy about it; being a youngster, with all my friends going out and having fun and me: doing coffee, cleaning pots, and cooking. That was the time that you had to do anything that was needed. Eventually, I figured out some ways with my friends to escape my duties and have some fun with them, inventing all kinds of very hilarious excuses. Though I must say that my early experiences in the restaurant planted a seed that later grew into my current profession!

Are there any chefs that inspire you/that you draw inspiration from?

There are many chefs I admire. Most of all, the chefs that taught me how to cook, and to be responsible and professional. Among these, I would definitely mention Joan Font, my first boss, Carles Gaig, and Juan Mari Arzak. I must say that the two most important personalities I follow are Chef Albert Adria and Joan Roca. They are real pioneers, incredibly creative professionals who are constantly changing and challenging the F&B scene both on a national and an international level. As far as the chefs residing in Singapore are concerned, I find Chef Julien Royer (Odette) very creative, but at the same time, a down-to-earth and unpretentious professional with clear objectives and an amazing vision. I really like Chef Dave Pynt from  Burnt Ends as well. He is a great, professional and experienced chef, who is known for creating a simple yet unforgettable experience for his guests.

Can you tell us how you came to be involved in Kilo Cooking Beats—Raices?

I’ve known the Kilo guys since I basically landed in Singapore and started my first project, FoodBar DaDa. We instantly connected with each other and shared the same respect, love, and passion for our job. And here we are now, doing Cooking Beats together!

What can people expect from your dishes for the evening at Cooking Beats? What’s one dish that you’re particularly excited about?

People can expect dishes with part of my soul and life experiences in there. Simple and honest food, done with all of my heart. All my dishes in the menu have a history behind them and I’m very excited about the whole collaboration!

What’s your earliest memory of food, or the first dish you learnt how to cook?

It’s quite easy: Pan con Tomate. Bread with tomatoes is one of the simplest dishes that reminds me of home, Spain, and its authentic flavours. A good piece of toasted bread, fresh and juicy tomatoes, a splash of olive oil, and pinch of salt is all that’s needed—simple and delicious. I still remember how my grandmothers used to prepare that for me.

Can you describe a typical dish from your childhood?

As any Spanish kid would enjoy, I loved the Pan con Chocolate, which is simply Bread with chocolate, a typical snack given to youngsters. I’m really excited about serving it at PIM PAM, although in a more refined way—you need to try it! On the more savoury part, I’ve always enjoyed great cold cuts, including Jamon Iberico. My uncle used to be a shepherd and he had a butcher shop with my aunt, so I could eat fresh and cured meats at any time of the year.

Since your move from Spain to Singapore, has the difference in cultures and cuisines influenced the way that you cook?

Yes, of course, it has been quite a journey! I’ve always wanted to serve authentic cuisine, like how it was back in Spain. However, it’s not easy because you’ll need to adapt to the local palate of your guests. It has been, and sometimes still is, difficult, but also pleasant. We are, in a way, ambassadors of our own culture, so we need to tell our guests the whole story and explain why we do things in certain ways. It took some time to adjust, especially in the saltiness of our dishes. In Spain, we use quite a fair amount of salt, but the local guests tend to use less of it.

I also became a fan of sambal paste and have been using it in some of the dishes at FOC PIM PAM, such as our Ous al Plat, for example. It creates a much more complex, complete flavour. Also the local spices are very different from those that we have in Europe—here, they all have a very powerful aroma and flavour. There’s always so much to explore, in terms of ingredients and the different style of cuisines that are available.

What’s your signature dish to cook, or something you always make when you have guests over?

Bread with tomato, my favourite dish…and sometimes chicken, just like how my mom used to prepare it. Top-secret recipe!

Tell us something that most people don’t know about Spain. Any food recommendations?

I think nowadays, people know a lot about Spain, having travelled there, or from their research online. In Spain everything is quite simple, but compelling at the same time. You can tell many stories, but everyone needs to visit the country and experience for themselves what Spain is really about!

Although there might one fun fact about Spain that not many people know about: did you know that Spanish tuna is sold at auctions in Japan? Top quality!

What are you working on at the moment?

I am currently working on a new tapas bar menu for our outlet at Orchard. You need to try it soon, there are many unique dishes and produce to taste!

If you could invite someone, whether living or dead, from your hometown to dine with you, who would it be?

I would do anything to have a meal with my mom and my sister. They passed away, and I miss them so much.