Info Gluttony

“Creativity is a challenge against yourself”

Posted in books, fud, personal by echan on October 13, 2011

This is a quick fire post, but I wanted to transcribe my notes, at least in bullet-point form from Monday’s Ferran Adria talk at the Castro. This was definitely my favorite talk of the year, if not of the last five years. I walked away completely mesmerized.

  • Adria is no Anthony Bourdain. He is not there to make you laugh with funny anecdotes or foul language. Adria is there in his messianic way to: 1. guide you to create, and 2. point you towards the future of food.
  • Adria opened up by stating, “In order to cook well, you must think well, and in order to think well, you must be humble.”
  • Adria used the fable of the omelette and the mini-skirt to illustrate that it’s not important to be the first person to create something, but to be the person who conceptualizes it. We don’t know who invented the first omelette, but now most cookbooks devote 5% of their content to omelette recipes. Similarly, miniskirts date back to ancient Greece, but it took Mary Quant in the 60s to pair it in such a way to emphasize the female form. The evolution of the recipe is key.
  • We know nothing about cuisine and everything about food is subjective. The Spanish eat the second most fish per capita, but they hate raw fish. Adria’s own parents did not like sushi, when he brought them to a Japanese restaurant.
  • Back before his restaurant was big in the 90s, chefs guarded their recipes. But recipes are meant to be shared, so that people can improve them. Essentially, Adria was advocating open source cooking.
  • Fruits are an alphabet. When you cook with them, you create a language.
  • Adria showed us a clip of how his kitchen can make 2 meters of cheese spaghetti. When we eat a plate of spaghetti, we eat 60 meters of spaghetti.
  • I can’t find a good video online of the El Bulli Foundation masterplan, but it’s going to be on a nature preserve, and it definitely puts forth Adria’s utopian vision.
  • Finally, this event was also a book signing party of Adria’s The Family Meal. This is simply one of the most stunning cookbooks that I’ve ever opened.
Finally, while I’ve never had the fortune to dine at El Bulli, I had a chance to eat at another temple of molecular gastronomy, Arzak. At the time, I didn’t appreciate the level of technical skill that went into the tasting menu, but when he explained spherification and other techniques, I had an “A-ha! That’s how they made it” moment with some of the dishes I tried this spring.
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One Response

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  1. ToastyKen said, on October 13, 2011 at 1:22 am

    I know you made the comparison first, but the omelet and miniskirt story sounds exactly like what Steve Jobs did with Apple: It’s not about doing things first, but about doing them well, in a way that appeals to people.


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