Living on the Mediterranean shore of Spain, Carme Ruscalleda grew up in a Catalonian family that enjoyed its small-town recipes and foods. Surrounded by farmland and with the fresh catches from the sea, Ruscalleda’s Sant Pol de Mar was an ideal community to learn how to cook.

Taking over her family’s food store, Ruscalleda and her partner expanded with a deli and by selling items they grew on their farm. The love continued, and in 1988, she opened Sant Pau and began providing home-cooked meals. She began to learn from European chefs and practiced new dishes as the store grew.

Nearly 20 years later, Ruscalleda received three Michelin stars, one of only four women to hold the honor. The original restaurant closed in 2018, and Ruscalleda infused new life into the town with a new restaurant: Cuina Estudi.