Ferran Adria — molecular cuisine guru, chef of the most famous Catalan restaurant — El Bulli, author of culinary books.
A complete list of the titles of Ferran Adrià and his restaurant El Bulli would take several pages: “Silver Spoon”, “Golden Heart”, “Ambassador of Spanish Culture” and “Honorary Citizen of Barcelona”, “Best Restaurant of the World” and again “Best Restaurant of the World” …
This story began quite romantic. Homeopath doctor Hans Schilling and his wife Marquette came to rest in Spain, on the Costa Brava, in the tiny town of Cala Montjoy. And so they liked this place that they bought a plot of land there and built a house.
From time to time, Frau Marquette arranged outdoor barbecue dinners.
After 7 years, they received a license for a mini-golf device with a restaurant — and named their establishment El Bulli, in honor of the French bulldogs (bulls), whom they adored.
After another 22 years, a young man named Ferran Adria appeared at the door of El Bulli.
He served in the army, he was given a monthly leave — and he decided to earn some money in a restaurant. On the advice of his fellow Catalan, with whom they worked in the general’s kitchen, Ferran came to Cala Montzhoy. “I was much more excited about the idea that I would be able to spend part of the summer on the beach than the prospect of plowing at the stove and getting some money.
I was young and rather careless and had no idea where I was going. ”
And it would be worth it — by that time the restaurant was already booming: it had 2 Michelin stars.
In fact, the young soldier had time to bask on the sand.
Despite the fact that Ferran hadn’t even heard of Michelin before, in a month he managed to like the owners so much that the next year, after the army, he received an offer to work with them.
Adria returned to the service station with two culinary books in a suitcase: the brothers Truagro and Michel Gherar, the guru of French cuisine.
In the army, he had enough time to feel the spirit of the new cooking.
He and his friend Fermi (the same Catalan) prepared according to French recipes, more and more amazing his strict general.
The next significant event took place three years later, in 1987.
The former chief of El Bulli left his place and moved to Alicante to open his own restaurant there.
And Ferrand, his assistant, unexpectedly turned out to be the main “bully”. By that time, the work was capturing him more and more, and he no longer could imagine himself without knives and pans, olive oil and ham, new recipes and old Spanish dishes.
A full-fledged owner in the kitchen, 24-year-old Ferran stood at the beginning of his journey to absolute gastronomic freedom, to a food that only science fiction writers could describe at that time.
In 1998, the book “The Secrets of El Bulli” was published, and six months later — “The Desserts of El Bulli”, written by Albert Adrià, brother of Ferran.
Ferran considered (and still considers) the publication of books one of the most important aspects of his work. “Our philosophy needs to be explained.
This is a completely new style in cooking, we understood this from the very beginning and set ourselves a specific task: to create new tastes and develop fundamentally new technologies. ”
Following this task, El Bulli works on a schedule that is absolutely unrealistic for most restaurants in the world: it closes every fall until spring. This, Ferran says, is “lab time” when the whole team creates and experiments.
The result every time becomes a new, amazing in every sense of the word menu.
Ferran has its own set of rules and laws:
- use of the highest quality products and all technical capabilities;
- all products: both truffles and potatoes — have the same gastronomic value;
- preference is given to vegetables, seafood, dairy products and nuts, rather than meat;
- Regardless of the boldness of the experiment, the main goal is always the same — to preserve the purity of the original taste and aroma of the product.
And finally, the main thing: cooking is a language with which you can convey harmony, happiness, beauty, complexity, poetry, magic, humor, provocation and culture.
Kitchen, in Ferran’s opinion, is an area of creativity, a place where a person should enjoy. Therefore, his main motto is “Give every chef the freedom to create as he wants!”
Adria — in spite of fast food — invented and opened the restaurants Fast Good.
They stand on four pillars: simplicity, originality, integrity and health benefits. He proved that food can be quick and tasty.
Salads and sandwiches, soup of the day and ice cream.
And the hamburger at the head of the menu — but what a!
And his book «Home Cooking» with the simplest and surprisingly delicious recipes? And you will not think that their author is the number one molecular cook in the world …
About El Bulli did not write just lazy. Ferrand has been on The New York Times Magazine, Le Monde and Time — publications, to put it mildly, not specializing in food.
Time mentioned him in the first hundred of the most influential people in the world.
The influence of Ferran — at least on fellow chefs — is indeed enormous.
Thanks to Adria, an addition has occurred in the broth family: infusions, Navara, consomme, “water”, filtered vegetable juices, peanut milk … He taught chefs to play not only with tastes and smells, but also with appearance (color, shape, optical illusions) and by touch (temperature contrast and product texture). He is one of those who destroyed the familiar trinity of “main product — garnish — sauce” and broke the wall between sweet and savory, creating comfortable conditions for their symbiosis. He gave life to a savory «cold kitchen» where ice cream, sorbet and granite reign.
He involved the waiters in the cooking process to such an extent that the final result depended on them, since a lot of dishes are cooked right in front of the public. “Creativity in my case is teamwork. I could not do anything alone.
Not without the sous-chefs, not without the head waiter, or without the waiters. ”
Once he starts to use something, after him the cooks rush first in Spain and then around the world.
These are foams (espuma) and cold or hot jellies. This technology is sous vide (very slow cooking in a vacuum); these are eggs baked in the oven at 68 ° C … Then the followers of Ferran began to enrich the foam with even more oxygen, making it super-light … Now they are practicing with handmade caviar from olive oil or cherry juice …
Only Ferrand is no longer interested. Now he says: “Why do we never cook in restaurants in microwaves?
No one ever came to me with the words “Come on, Ferran, let’s cook something in the microwave! Why is it used only for defrosting? ”And he takes Parmesan, mixes it with salt and grated rice, puts the resulting mass in a siphon, lays it out of a siphon, sends the form into a 900-watt microwave. And after 40 seconds, he has a fantastic parmesan mousse.
Or eggs with sugar and flour — mixes again into the siphon, from the siphon into a plastic cup (in one motion makes two holes in the cup at once) — and again into the microwave for 40 seconds.
The easiest biscuit ready.
He does not get tired to discover new products for himself and use them in his kitchen. One of his last “favorites” is the last generation sugar substitute, mannitol. Standing on the stage of the world gastronomic forum Madrid Fusion, Ferran shows how it works.
Adria heats the mannitol (it turns into a liquid syrup), then dips the cooled raspberry into it — and the berry caramelizes immediately, without losing a milligram of juice.
Another element of laboratory origin in El Bulli’s kitchen is trizol, a chemical substance used to isolate ribonucleic acid from cells.
Ferran adds it to the tempura dough — and then you can fry any product in tempura, no matter how much liquid it contains.
Thanks to the trizole, the tempura does not get wet, and all the juice remains inside.
Adria comes up with chocolates for diabetics without a gram of sugar or sweeteners that taste exactly like ordinary chocolate.
From maltodextrin (a dietary supplement made from glucose and polysacchar, which is often added to baby food), powdered yogurt and citric acid Ferran creates stunning flowers.
And so every year.
In Adria, three or four methods of transforming a product into something that he is not at all, are always swarming in his head — and a few ingenious devices that will make it possible to achieve such a transformation. “Only I will not tell you anything yet.
Come to me at the beginning of the season, try. «
Meanwhile, to get into El Bulli, it takes some incredible effort.
Reservations can be made by phone or via the Internet for three or four days, as soon as the season opens. Lines immediately terminate hundreds of calls.
Internet applications are generally from the year before last. The only thing that can be done is to go to Cala Montjoi during these three days, sit there after dark at the entrance and wait for the opening.