Clubhaus is a new multi-conceptual social space in Barcelona which includes 2 restaurants, 3 cocktail bars, and the private, members-only “Galaxy” nightclub. It is an all-day hangout where co-creation happens between chefs, artists, and other creatives. Below is an interview with Joel Serra Bevin, the founder of Clubhaus, who tells us about the inspiration behind Clubhouse and how food, art, and play are at the heart of his mission. (Follow Clubhaus on Instagram!)
Joel, for starters… who are you?
I am a chef on a mission both in and out of the kitchen combining food + art + play. Because what’s on the plate is only part of the game and this is why I’m in a permanent state of hunting ‘the new’ to inspire and reinvent what it means to ‘eat’.
Born in New Zealand, I grew up in Tasmania on our self-sufficient farm where I spent my childhood in the wild hunting (rabbits with my bow and arrow) and gathering (wild herbs and berries from the surrounding hills). I passed eight years as an Economist in Melbourne before a short-lived appearance on Masterchef Australia, and while my reality TV career lasted only 15 minutes, my life in the kitchen was just beginning.
Realizing I preferred chopping onions over crunching numbers, and inspired by memories of my Catalan great-grandfather Papa Serra, I moved to Barcelona and began hosting a rooftop supperclub and running pop-up tours around Europe. With stories to tell, I published Papalosophy, a cookbook that celebrated food and creativity in equally radical measures. Then, convinced by the power of food to unite and inspire, I helped launch Eatwith.com and grew it into the world’s largest food experience community.
Food is not what you cook, but what you make others taste, and this conviction plays out as I fill my kitchen with FOOD, ART and PLAY. Finding inspiration in cities like Tokyo, Amsterdam, Berlin, New York and London, and with heroes ranging from Hunter S. Thompson to Anthony Bourdain, Bill Murray to Salvador Dali, Bruce Lee to Jimi Hendrix, I strive to create work that is original, entertaining, and above all delicious.
Why create Clubhaus?
One of my heroes, Anthony Bourdain, once admitted that chefs are “…in the pleasure business.” And I take this role seriously. Because food isn’t what you cook, it’s what you make others taste, so it better be fucking delicious.
We live in a world dominated by good and bad, heaven and hell, right and wrong. But at Clubhaus, the pleasure isn’t guilty – it’s the glittery kind that will stick to you for days.
Epictetus got it right when he said: “I choose pleasure.” I’ve never stopped seeking out the good life and Clubhaus is my opportunity to share all of these experiences with Barcelona.
Clubhaus is no adventure on a whim, it is the culmination of my experiences and sense of adventure, and a deep desire to share it with the rest of the world the only way I know how, on the plate.
What do you – Joel Serra Bevin – bring to Clubhaus?
I believe in REAL food cooked by PASSIONATE people and only DELICIOUS goes on the plate. It’s food for HEDONS with a taste for THE GOOD LIFE. It’s basic, it’s bold, it’s genuine – we call it real fucking food. We trust in PLEASURE because GLUTTONY is never a sin and every day & night deserves to be MEMORABLE .
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!” – Hunter S. Thompson
How will you share your passion for art in Clubhaus?
My life has been inspired by food + art + play. These three elements are what excites me, what inspires me, and where I’ve met some of my favorite people. And each element cannot exist without the other, whether it’s in or out of the kitchen.
Why is food + art + play so important?
Clubhaus has been a dream for over 12 months and at every stage of the project we have sought creative ways to combine food + art + play. Whether it is by inviting graffiti artists into the kitchen, dedicating the coffee corner to the world’s most alternative magazines, designing a billiard table that converts into a dining table in the evening, inserting mini-golf into the bathrooms, and converting a bunker into Barcelona’s coolest spot where DJs and mixologists to combine forces.
Do you have other dreams?
I never had a bucket list of dreams to accomplish, I just strove to never stop experiencing and creating ‘the new’ and it was with this mentality that I traveled, cooked, and lived. I always try to combine food + art + play, because I believe these three elements are the basis of a more creative, sustainable, and exciting world in which to live the good life.
What kind of social causes will Clubhaus support?
Clubhaus was born out of a dream to create something truly original and I believe that anything done with enough passion will always be successful. With this spirit, it was natural that we supported local and global social causes. At every stage of the project we are looking at ways to involve and support local artists, producers, and creatives from all walks of life. There is also a longer term vision to leave a lasting positive impact and as we launch Clubhaus. We will announce different initiatives that support a more sustainable world and prove that we are stronger when people and ideas fuse come together.
Who are some artists that have inspired you??
I’ve always been inspired by artists that are multi-dimensional and flawed in some (im)perfect way. Artists that are able to bend the definition of what it means to be a writer, a musician, a painter, an athlete or a chef.
Hunter S. Thompson is the gonzo journalist that truly lived his stories and made the writer the protagonist. He lived his life “Faster, Faster, until the thrill of speed overcomes the fear of death,” and is a hero for ranking authenticity and pleasure over all else.
Salvador Dali took painting to the edge of surrealism and didn’t see any limit to his talents. By assuming the the role of photographer, writer, designer, cook, sculptor and screenwriter he proved that creativity is not limited by technical skills, only by imagination.
Anthony Bourdain was the rockstar chef that lived and cooked like the original explorers. He was on a constant mission to show the world how food and the good life are inextricably linked and that it’s only by traveling, cooking and living with an open mind that we can truly create a better world.
What about the food in Clubhaus?
My food is rough, creative, and naturally messy. I aim to celebrate simple food cooked with passion and flavored with creativity from around the world. It’s food that is comforting, nourishing and familiar but at the same time exciting and new. I cook with punch and flair, combining fresh flavors with exotic tastes and the good life.
Starting in the morning, there will be a menu full of breakfast classics and funky newcomers. Then, kicking it up a gear, the Show Room features an aggressive urban menu of dishes raised on the streets with a punchy Mediterranean, Latin, and Asian twist.
Then, for some rock ‘n’ roll, the Jungle Room serves up playground favorites: featuring gourmet burgers, house fries, addictive wings, and over-the-top ice-cream sundaes.
Having lived a life of fusion, I’m not aiming to recreate the traditions I’ve tasted around the world, but instead take those memories and flavors and apply them to amazing local produce cooked with artistic flair and playful presentation. It’s real f*cking food.