On Friday we went to see El Bulli's one and only Ferran Adria, in conversation with Harold McGee (author of On Food and Cooking) and Atlantic Monthly food editor C0rby Kummer. It was an animated, fruitful discussion, giving the audience a taste of Adria's brilliance.
Adria spoke completely off-the-cuff, in random bits and pieces, with flailing arms and gestures, in melodic Spanish, about the food and restaurnat industry, farming, El Bulli, rising chefs, his staff, and so on. Frank Gehry was brought up on multiple occasions, and he used the word "maravillosa" (magnifiscent) to describe just about everything.
The man is hilarious. Kummer was a poor moderator, who tried to pin Adria down with mundane questions and topics, but Adria totally paved his own path and avoided him almost completely. He showed videos of his restaurant and how-to's of some of his most intricate dishes. I would kill to have a meal there.
Ironically, when asked how many people had actually been to El Bulli, only a few people raised their hands. In a packed, 350+ sold out audience, it was unreal to see how high his restaurant has reached the level of superstardom. Perhaps rightfully so, but how would we know how good he is, given that most of us have never been, and most likely will never get the chance to go? It's a bit perplexing, if you think about it.
If I learned one thing, it's to never make references to his atelier as a "lab". It's a workshop of culinary innovation, but is also just a kitchen, if nothing else.
When asked where he dined when he is in NYC, he said that he had just been to Katz's. But of course.
Awesome introduction by Bill Buford! Love this man- they should have had him moderate.
From left to right: Adria's interpreter, Adria, Kummer, McGee.
It's a little hard to hear, but I shot this little segment for you all. I think it captures Adria's spirit and random articulance really well. The man has such a great sense of humor.