A Day at elBulli: A Conversation

Adria Over at NYPL Live, an audio conversation with Ferran Adrià, Corby Kummer and Harold McGee:

No one can get into elBulli, Ferran Adrià’s restaurant on the northeast coast of Spain. But plenty of people certainly try: every year, the restaurant receives over two million requests for only 8,000 seats during the six months it is open. For the other six months, Adrià, who is proud to be called the “Salvador Dali of the Kitchen,” travels, dreams, and creates at his “food laboratory” in Barcelona, called elBulli Taller, where his team includes a chemist and an industrial designer who also design plates and serving utensils to go with the food. No wonder, as Corby Kummer wrote in The Atlantic, “making the twisty two-hour drive from Barcelona for a dinner that ends well into the wee hours has become a notch on every foodie’s belt—perhaps the notch, given the international derby to get reservations.”

For mortals who won’t be making the trip soon—or who didn’t hit the lottery last year in the German contemporary-art exhibition Documenta, which flew two people at random per day to el Bulli to experience “the exhibition” that is dinner at elBulli—Adrià has given the world A Day at elBulli: An Insight into the Ideas, Methods and Creativity of Ferran Adria. This is the first book to take a behind-the-scenes look at the restaurant whose sources and methods every ambitious chef wants to know. It shows a full working day from dawn until the last late-night guests leave, using photographs, menus, recipes and diagrams that reveal the restaurant’s preparations, food philosophy, and surroundings.

What have the rest of us been missing?