October 25, 2018
Pep Romany, conquering the world from Dénia
Pep Romany, who has worked as a physicist and IT specialist, has devoted himself to the restaurant industry since 1999, with projects such as El Tossalet del Carme and Miguel Juan, both in Dénia, but he burst onto the gastronomic scene of this very gastronomic city and region after opening Pont Sec in 2013.
Almost from the start, it gained singularity and fame with his revival of the coca; a speciality related to pizza, and one that Valencians share with Catalonians and the inhabitants of the Balearic Islands, and which is as deep-rooted as its Italian counterpart, or more. At Pont Sec, Pep Romany combines age-old knowledge and that of today with traditional techniques and contemporary ones to modernize a dish that had practically been confined to bakeries and casual lunches. Its success has been such that Pont Sec is already referred to as a model of ‘coquería’, a restaurant concept that is bound to boom.
The downside of this great acclaim is that Pont Sec’s cocas eclipse other aspects of a restaurant that is closely linked to the effervescent socio-gastronomic reality of this city and the region. The strategies designed for Dénia and La Marina Alta as part of the framework of UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network (in this case Gastronomy) bring order to a tight network that spans all the way from those closest to the land – fishermen, farmers – to the restaurant industry, which has an unparalleled concentration of gastronomic eateries.
It is based on the idea that although tourism destroyed the chain that links production and consumption linked to the land and its way of life, it is also the force that can regenerate it. Romany and Pont Sec are part of it with their rice dishes, char-grilled meats, their homemade salt-cured foods and their traditional dishes – always viewed from a standpoint that is completely unstuffy – and with a kitchen garden at hand providing all kinds of vegetables: a moving ode to Dénia, to La Marina Alta, to its people, to its past and its future, to its way of conquering the world...
By Lluís Ruiz Soler