Jordi Roca
Kitchen whiz ... Spanish chef Jordi Roca gets busy in the kitchen at Sepia. Photo: Marco Del Grande

JORDI ROCA likes women who smell of lemon muffins soaked in milk. But before you write him off as some kinky Spanish chef, he can explain.

Such peculiarly fragrant women are probably wearing his perfume, Lemon Cloud, which is inspired by his dessert of the same name.

Roca, 34, says he took an ''opposite process'' with Lemon Cloud. His desserts are usually inspired by perfumes, not the other way around.

With his two older brothers, Roca runs the world's No.2-ranked restaurant - El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, Spain. He is in Sydney for the World Chef Showcase, part of the Herald's Crave Sydney International Food Festival.

Famous for his technical wizardry, Roca says he relies most heavily on his acute sense of smell. Scent, he believes, is the best short cut to a diner's unconscious desires.

Some of his desserts are inspired by childhood memories, such as the smell of biscuits dunked in milk. Others come from high street fragrances including Calvin Klein and Donna Karan.

While in Sydney, Roca will cook out of Sepia - a three-hatted city restaurant. To prepare for his visit, Sepia's owner and head chef, Martin Benn, ordered in about 100 litres of liquid nitrogen, a cotton candy machine and a sugar blower, from Adelaide. ''Sunday night we're cooking together,'' Benn said. ''I'm doing savoury, he's doing all the desserts.''

For the next three days, Roca will cook desserts and speak at events in the Crave festival.

Some of the world's best chefs - including Roca - have arrived in Sydney this week for Crave, which runs through October. This year's festival is Italian-themed and will feature hundreds of food and wine events across Sydney and NSW.

For more details visit: cravesydney.com