How a childhood memory turns into a 3 Michelin star idea: the vision behind Cocina Hermanos Torres


We present you Visions, Hosco’s signature series, a journey to discover the most innovative ideas behind the giants of the hospitality industry. And we can’t think of a better place than Barcelona to kick off this new adventure. 

For the first stage of our journey, we decided to visit the home of two brothers: Sergio and Javier Torres. Two “starred” chefs who made an industrial warehouse, hidden in the heart of the city, their home.

This is how our day began at Cocina Hermanos Torres, a Barcelona restaurant that won 3 Michelin stars in 2022, and the vision behind its creation:

Pablo Sacerdotte, the restaurant’s director for the last three years, opened the doors and played host to us during our visit. Upon entering, what from the outside looked like little more than an industrial construction, was transformed into a true theatrical spectacle.

In this interview with Pablo Sacerdotte, we will discover the dream behind Cocina Hermanos Torres and how a childhood memory can be powerful enough to pave the way to success for these two brothers.

If you want to take a look at our interview, here it is:


If that whets your appetite and you’re curious to know more, don’t miss the full interview below!

What’s behind the Torres Brothers’ concept?

The original idea for Cocina is based on a childhood memory of Sergio and Javier Torres: the twins grew up and learned to cook in their grandmother’s kitchen and what they wanted to create is a restaurant where they could feel at home away from home.

A completely open and fluid space that we call “the factory of dreams“, precisely because it was born from a dream of the brothers, and everything inside is related to their childhood memory and bond.

What is the background of the Torres brothers and how did they get here?

The Torres Brothers have been working in haute cuisine for many years. They started when they were very young, moving around the world – including Catalonia, France, Switzerland – and they each took their own path, traveling on their own to work with big names in the sector.

The good thing is that they went their separate ways to learn from the greats and then came back together again, eager to share their knowledge and build their careers together. They opened their restaurants in Brazil and then returned to Barcelona, their home city, where they began to develop various projects.

The sum of all these experiences is very clear in the Cocinas Hermanos Torres project. This is where it’s possible to see the classic techniques of great cuisine merging with the twins’ own styles. And this is how they managed to successfully transfer the memory of their grandmother’s kitchen to fine dining.

What is the layout of the restaurant?

Although the hall is an open space, there is a division between the kitchens: we have a cold room, some differentiated mis an place rooms and a central station, where we have three blocks: one for fish, a middle one, which is where the order management is, and the third block, which is for meats.

If we were to follow a map, what we would do is start from the appetizers, go through fish and meat, and finish at the pastry station, which is where we end each menu.

Almost 97% of the people in this restaurant order a tasting menu, because we believe that it is a bit like “our own movie”, where we show all the dishes of the current moment. But, there is also the option of ordering a la carte, for those who have already seen the film many times and only want to revisit their favorite scene.

What kind of atmosphere do you intend to convey with such a unique design?

The atmosphere here is completely different from the places where I have worked so far. When you walk in, you feel both a sense of warmth and professionalism. This is something that customers always point out after eating in our restaurant.

What makes Cocina Hermanos Torres different from other restaurants?

This is a restaurant completely different from the others because of the idea behind its creation: Cocina Hermanos Torres is an 800 square metres industrial building with approximately 70% of this space dedicated to the kitchen and the remaining 30% to the diners. 

Almost the entire room is formed like an amphitheatre, where everyone observes what is going on in the central kitchen. Thanks to this, we’re able to include the customer in the experience in an incredible way.

What is spectacular about the restaurant is its extreme functionality: the layout of the restaurant is an open kitchen with tables all around it, which allows both the kitchen team and the dining room team to be united even though they work in different ways.

This is achieved through fluid communication between the kitchen and the dining room, made possible by working in an open space where the two teams blend together to become one perfectly oiled machine.

Each team fulfills different functions and dresses differently but, at the same time, there is no real distinction between the two. The restaurant is like an orchestra where everyone has to play their own instrument but, at the end of the day, the most important thing is that the music comes out nicely and that people want to come back thanks to the atmosphere we manage to create together.

Speaking of an orchestra, why is there no music in the restaurant?

At Cocina Hermanos Torres there is no music because we believe that the real music is the sound emitted by kitchens. Here, the soundtrack is one of real chefs at work.


How would you describe your cuisine and how does the food here differ from other places?

If I had to define our concept of cuisine, Cocina Hermanos Torres is a restaurant that has this mix of recipes the brothers have generated throughout their lives, via a sensory connection they have with the product and its origins, and the flavors that bring back certain memories.

All the products we work with are seasonal and we always try to use the best produce, from the best possible sources. From there, we elevate it to its highest form in the kitchen. The highest form not only has to be on a technical level, but also to reflect the essence of the product. 

When we talk about our cuisine, we talk about seasonality and we obviously talk about sustainability, as we work mostly with local products.

In other Michelin-starred restaurants there are great kitchens but none with such a close and familiar concept as a grandmother’s cooking translated to high-level cuisine.

Every dish tells a story. Like, for example, the fact that they come to the restaurant by bicycle after having picked herbs from the hills outside of the city, or even a simple dish of strawberries. But it’s special because this strawberry dish is prepared with vinegar, like the one grandma used to make for them when they were little.

We believe that fine dining should not be confined to the elite, and that it should be for everyone: everyone who enters our restaurant should be able to easily understand our concept and enjoy it.

How is Hermanos Torres’ concept instilled in the staff?

Our team is no more and no less than a family working together to make it all happen. And it has both the typical problems of a family and its virtues.

Together, we believe in what we do and try to make it as easy as possible for every employee. 

Here, problems are solved smoothly and unnecessary tensions are avoided. We try to make the working environment as welcoming as possible so that we can transmit that feeling on to the customers.

Obviously, it is also true that we work at a high level, which means that we also require everyone to be at the same degree of excellence.

And how do you manage that?

In a restaurant with these characteristics, service can always be stressful. But, working in an open space, the very structure of the place does not allow us to express anger like you might see in other kitchens. We have to control our emotions and remain focused on the task at hand.

But it is also thanks to this that each person who comes to work here learns to communicate with the rest of the team in a calm and clear way so we solve problems quickly. Due to this fluid communication, we are able to generate a very calm atmosphere inside the restaurant.

I think that one of the differentiating points of Cocina Hermanos Torres has to do with this fluid communication between the kitchen and the dining room: here everything happens in the same place and this fluidity is transferred to every single detail of our service.

Thanks to the concept of the restaurant, we can make the post or pre-service discussion much more pleasant, with lower levels of tension. I am not saying that we don’t argue or that there are no problems to solve. Issues will always come up. Even more so when you are chasing that perfection that never comes.

We work everyday to maintain this balance and are committed to identifying the personal motivators for each member of the team.

These personal motivators are learned along the way, are not always the same for each person and can even change over time. What motivated me years ago no longer motivates me now, for example. 

In general, trust and flexibility are the basis for growing as a team: trusting that each person will advance and grow within the parameters that we believe are appropriate and being flexible to understand that each person has his or her own rhythm.

Is there a dress code?

Working in an industrial building, things happen differently here. This means that there is an important combination of perfection and comfort.

When you’re here, you feel that there is no stress and everything runs logically. People aren’t locked into fine dining stereotypes, where they usually have the same hairstyle and the same clothes. Yes, of course we all wear a uniform, but this is still not quite what people expect in a restaurant of this level. Everyone has their own style: from wearing sneakers to not wearing ties, what we want is to be able to approach a table and present ourselves in the most authentic way possible.

The culture of the company is based on taking care of our people, and it is these same people who take care of the Hermanos Torres brand. As long as you do your job well and are an asset to the team, you can wear sneakers or shoes, that’s the least of our worries.

What are the staff selection criteria for Cocina Hermanos Torres?

In terms of selection criteria, I think today we rely much more on attitude than on aptitude

We strongly believe that everything you need to know to work with us, can be learned on the job in our restaurant. But that person will always have to have the right attitude to make it happen.

We have many things to teach so there are many possibilities for people to learn. We focus on the individuality of each person and try to optimize learning processes based on humility and a commitment to the brand and the team.

Obviously, this changes according to the position we want to incorporate. I can’t teach a person who comes to join our sommelier team how to hold a glass, because otherwise it would be a never-ending process. But I can help one of the people on my team grow as a sommelier.

There are people who may be talented and who fulfill all the technical requirements, but they don’t mesh well in the team. That’s incredibly important because we are always trying to build the strongest team we possibly can. Why? Because to grow you need to do it with a team, you’ll never truly grow on your own.

How are you affected by the problems in the hospitality industry today, and what are you doing to improve conditions for your workers?

It’s clear that the hospitality industry is not going through its best moment right now, and what has suffered the most because of this is what is actually the foundation of this industry: the people.

From Cocina Hermanos Torres, now more than ever, we need to be attractive to employees. That’s why we’ve started making things more flexible in a way that makes the people who work for us feel that they are part of something but also recognized as individuals.

In general, we are working to change a very strong paradigm of fine dining – where there used to be long hours and a lot of stress. We want people to have a work-life balance and pay a respectable wage appropriate to the role. 

This is where we as employers can help make all this possible and make it happen in a palpable way: by making work and personal life compatible from an economic perspective and offering career advancement possibilities. In order to be content and motivated at work, we have to be financially stable and happy with our role. Then we can truly be happy at work and convey this feeling to our guests in an authentic way.

As far as the development of one’s professional and economic career is concerned, we have to rethink the paradigms that have existed up to now. It’s important that the economic compensation is at the level of each professional, so that they want to stay with us and not go out looking for other possibilities in the market. 

Today, what is happening is that the market is very much in a state of flux: there are many new entities opening, there are many guests wanting to book tables but very little manpower. And what we have to do is to protect this workforce.

How? By creating a healthy working environment, true compatibility between personal and professional life, and fair economic compensation. This is something that’s not easy to find in the world of fine dining so Cocina Hermanos Torres wears it as a badge of honor.

We have guests who come up to us after dining for a hug to say thank you for the experience. We want our staff to be just as happy about serving our guests as they are to receive the service. The happiness of our staff is vital to the success of our restaurant.

What is the key to success?

The key to success today is based on having a clear idea and going after it, feeling what you do and believing in what you do every step of the way.

I believe that true perfection is unattainable, so it’s okay to miss the mark sometimes. We have to enjoy the fact that we sell happiness and we have to be happy in the meantime.

It’s learning to enjoy people hugging you, or coming at the end of the night to offer the team a glass of champagne for “having done so well”. These little moments are the most important.

We seek to be part of the important moments in people’s lives while helping them improve in their everyday life.

 What’s in store for the next episodes of Visions?

Through Visions we visit the places with the most visionary concepts on the planet. At each stop we will discover their vision, the secrets of their success, and why they are fascinating places to work. 

We chose Spain as the first stop on our journey, where we have four special stories to share. To kick it off, we interviewed Pablo Sacerdotte, director of Cocina Hermanos Torres.

To stay up-to-date with future episodes of Visions, be sure to follow us on Instagram. Our profile is full of useful information, helpful career advice, and inspirational stories that will give you a new perspective on the future of the hospitality industry.



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