Caravan Made is a project created by Sílvia Cabra and Javi Ruz – a couple from Barcelona who are passionate about cooking, eating and, of course, sharing.
Having always dreamt of working on a project together, today it has become a reality through the establishment of an innovative dining concept. Sílvia and Javi produce 100% homemade food, using the freshest organic ingredients and pride themselves on supporting local suppliers. A new and uniquely crafted menu is devised every season that aligns with their slogan ‘seasonal food on the road’.
Specializing in fine sandwiches, Caravan Made can be found throughout the city of Barcelona offering its patrons informal alfresco dining, with taste sensations between two pieces of bread.
For this story, we’ll also provide you with one of Sílvia and Javi’s very own recipe of ‘Curry Me Sandwich’ to delight your tastebuds while taking a peek inside their custom designed caravan and finding out about the challenges of running your own business and the food scene in Barcelona.
We trace the pair’s footsteps throughout the streets of Sitges – a coastal town just a short drive from Barcelona – to collect fresh ingredients from the market, followed by a stop at Sílvia’s grandmothers home to prepare their fare before heading to market.
Javi studied at the prestigious cookery school Hofmann in Barcelona and did an internship at El Celler de Can Roca, which was awarded the “Best Restaurant Award” by the Diners Club World’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy in 2013. After working there for six months, he decided to pull back and work on his own project.
With a mobile food concept company in mind, upon discovering a vintage caravan book while on holiday in Berlin, Caravan Made’s business model was solidified. Javi discovered an old 1970s caravan and restored it to its former glory – while transforming it into a kitchen on wheels by hand. Without committing to a fixed full-time venue, together they have found a perfect work-life balance.
After finishing her degree in advertising and PR, Sílvia came to the realization that cooking was her true passion. While working on Caravan Made she also maintains her dedication to the culinary arts by undertaking pastry studies at the prestigious Hofmann School in Barcelona under Mey Hofmann.
“Curry Me” Sandwich
Ingredients for the Roasted Chicken
4 boneless chicken thighs
2 oranges, washed and thinly sliced
1 large onion finely sliced
1 tbsp of cinnamon
1 tsp of anise
1 tsp of star anise
1 handful fresh thyme
1 handful fresh rosemary
Freshly ground pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
Method for the Roasted Chicken
Rub the chicken inside and out with a generous amount of salt (10% salt solution). Then cover the chicken and leave in the fridge for two hours. This will make the meat really tasty when cooked.
Pat dry with paper towel and place in a bowl with ingredients for the marinade: chopped orange and onion, spices, fresh thyme, rosemary, olive oil, salt and pepper.
After marination, place chicken and all ingredients from the marinade in an oven tray and bake at 180ºC for approximately 45 minutes.
Ingredients for the Curry Sauce
125ml milk (room temperature)
About 1 cup of vegetable oil (250ml)
2 tablespoons curry
Freshly ground white pepper
Method for the Curry Sauce
Ingredients to assemble the sandwich
8 sourdough bread slices
120g of chicken
Delivering the food to the market
Once all ingredients are prepared, we travel with the couple to set up shop at the Fira per la Terra in Arc de Triomf (Earth Day Organic Market) in Barcelona. Meeting and greeting customers the put together their sumptuous sandwiches ready to eat.
What is the food scene like in Barcelona?
Recently, we have noticed some changes in the gastronomic scene in Barcelona. Food has always been important in our country; going to bars and restaurants is part of Spanish culture.
In the last few years, many new and young food projects have developed. We are starting to see more and more food trucks, pop-up restaurants and small artisans emerging. They typically have fewer resources than bigger companies, but embody a lot of personality and creativity. We think it is really great that we are living in Barcelona at the moment. We can all help each other, learn and collaborate.
What was the process of restoring the caravan by hand like?
It took us two entire months and Javi dedicated himself to it full-time. First of all, we had to take out everything from the interior: the bed, the furniture, everything! From the beginning we knew that we wanted the interior to be made with virgin wood, so we took all the of measurements, bought the wood and Javi installed them all himself. He also had to install all of the basics in the caravan like electricity and water – in addition to the kitchen necessities, such as the grill and exhaust fan. After finishing the interior, some specialists helped us polish and paint the exterior. It used to be orange when we bought it! Finally, the last step was to install our vinyl logo with our name. It was a long and difficult process, but it was really exciting and rewarding.
Do you have any particular anecdotes you would like to share with us?
Yes, lots of interesting things have happened during our time at Caravan Made. We have learned something from almost every event. At our first event, when we were driving the caravan back home, it accidentally released itself from the car! Even though nothing happened, it was clearly a shock to us. We will also always remember the day we traveled for almost three hours only to realize when we arrived that we forgot the bread! On a more positive note, during the past summer, we worked on a few different festivals in the Costa Brava. It would have been too much to drive back to Barcelona for the night, so we ended up staying out there camping – it was a fun experience.
What do you love the most about running your own business?
Overall we enjoy sharing this project together. Learning from our mistakes, making our own decisions and having the ability to work on what we’ve always dreamed of doing is the best part. We love being able to share everything from the food to our philosophy with others while exploring the places we go. Of course we have faced challenging moments and it hasn’t always been easy, but we have been growing and learning a lot from this project.
How would you describe the response of your customers?
From our very first event, we received a positive reaction. This has really helped and supported us to continue with our business. People have shown genuine interest in the food truck movement and seem to value our work. Thanks to Caravan Made we have met a lot of great people and – along with cooking – this is one of the aspects we enjoy the most about this project.
What can we expect from Caravan Made in the future?
Perhaps in the future we might open a restaurant in Barcelona so we can offer our food daily, or maybe move somewhere else to learn about new cultures. We want to think in the present and continue to learn everyday. There is so much more yet to discover. In the world of cooking you never stop learning.
Sílvia and Javi, thanks so much for this delicious sandwich and for sharing all your cooking secrets!
Weekends are dedicated to culinary delight, so head over to our FvF Cooks section for more recipes made by friends from our community.
Interested in Barcelona? Discover more from the city’s creative scene and inspiring initiatives.
Photography: Alba García
Interview & Text: Rachael Vance