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Posts Tagged ‘Molecular Gastronomy’

Ferran Adria and Dani Garci

Like so many other people in the last 15 years, I started to care about food in college.  It was in college that I first had access to the food network, and in college that I first started to expand my culinary boundaries.  Part of this journey has been knowing and caring about famous chef’s.  One of the most famous is Ferran Adria, head chef of the now closed El Bulli in Spain.  For five consecutive years, El Bulli was named the World Restaurant of the Year, making reservations nearly impossible to get. I tried for years to get a reservation to his restaurant, but never even came close.  Every visit to his website always had the same message.  “We are sorry, but all tables have been booked for the 20xx dining year.  Please try back next year.”  That’s right…El Bulli has a dining year.  When open, Adria only took booking for 6 months of the year, spending the rest of the time discovering new flavors and new ways to capture these flavors.  Many credit Adria with starting the Molecular Gastronomy movement, though he has come to hate this term.  His food challenges.  His food is different.  Often, the way the food is presented does not resemble the ingredients it contains in any way, tricking the senses and making for a surprising mouthful.

The most recent attempt at getting a table was this spring when we were planning our recent trip to Spain.  I was reminded of the dream of getting a table at El Bulli and found myself once again checking for available tables.  Still, no luck.  This was not actually that surprising since a few days after we were in Barcelona, Adria shut the doors of El Bulli for good.  In the next two years he will transition from El Bulli being a restaurant to a culinary academy, working on pushing the bounds of food and flavor with groups of students and contemporaries interested in a similar conception of what food can be.

The story should end there, knowing that I will (in all likelihood) never get to eat a meal cooked by Adria.  I suppose this is still the case, but I came a lot closer than I expected.  A few days after arriving back in Beijing from Spain I was paging through a listing of August events and was thrilled to see that Ferran Adria and Dani Garcia (a 2 star Michelin Chef who uses similar techniques to Adria) were coming to Beijing for three days.  To say I was thrilled is actually an understatement.  I believe I jumped up and down for a while, saying to anyone in earshot (pretty sure that this was only Teph) Ferran Adria, Ferran Adria, Ferran Adria in a tone of disbelief.  I was pretty excited.  I quickly emailed the hotel to get a reservation for one of the dinners only to find out Adria would be in Beijing for only a single night, the first (and most expensive) dinner.  Still, for this, money was no object and I changed the reservation to that night.  Alas, I was still thwarted since Adria was just doing a cooking demonstration, not actually cooking the dinner.  Even still I was very excited to get to try this type of cooking, anxious to push my palate and my conception of food.  The 11 course meal that Garcia presented did not disappoint.  It was one of the best, most challenging, mind bending meals I have ever had in my life.

While I still have not had Adria food, I did get to meet him.  I was able to get a picture with him and have him (and Garcia) sign copies of the menu for the night.  It was an amazing occasion and I am so glad that I had the chance to experience this type of food.

I was invited to share the story of what I ate on my sister’s blog, pomelosunshine.com .  Please visit her site for a detailed look (descriptions and photos) of the fantastic 11 course meal.

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