Chef Ferran Adria is probably the most highly revered and innovative chef working today and most professional cooks when asked where they would most want to dine would nine times out of ten pick his restaurant el Bulli in Spain. The closest most will come to this extraordinary restaurant dining experience is with el Bulli 2003/2004 a trilogy of 3 books beginning with an accordian style map introducing each family of el Bulli that serves as a primer to the background and inner workings of the restaurant. Here we learn that the el Bulli family comprises everything related to the output of creativity of the restaurant and is comprised of Philosophy, Product, Technology, Preparations and Styles & Characteristics.
The ‘primer’ covers the restaurant’s life from 1983 to 2002 and according to Adria took 4 years to write. They then continued with a more in-depth analysis of their cuisine for the years 2003 & 2004, some 700 pages for both years divided into 2 books. These two books effectively illustrate the fusion of science and creativity toward finished dishes that his staff prepares. New products are illustrated, devices, utensils, tableware and step-by-step photographs make the often complex procedures more understandable.
The first half of each of these books is devoted to depicting the finished dishes as they are served at the restaurant – deep fried red mullet fish bone is precariously perched atop a delicate glass filled with amber soup. More of fine art book than cookbook, the photos of the finished dishes shot against dark backgrounds are striking. Foams, emulsions, jellies, cubes… all techniques that make for both necessary and stunning illustrations. Following the recipes themselves are the step-by-step preparations of each of the techniques, again well documented and photographed. At this stage the book takes on the feel of a science textbook, but that is the intention.
The 2004 book is similar in format as the 2003 book but the recipes and content reflects a new awareness of sensuality in cooking; composition of foodstuffs; new concepts in technology (aroma balloon, siphon, centrifuge, humidity meter to name a few), biographies for each dish and closes with a retrospection of the types of cooking at el Bulli today and cooking in general. Like Adria himself, this book is a true groundbreaker and worth it’s weight in gold to any aspiring or professional chef.
Categories - Celebrity Chef, Restaurant, Reference, Professional