Thursday, August 4, 2011

Ode to El Bulli

Have you heard the news? The devastating, yet thrilling news that the famous chef who altered the landscape of gastronomy as we know it has closed his famous El Bulli restaurant in Cala Montjoi near the remote Costa Brava seaside town of Rosas, Spain.
El Bulli in the background of the cove. Nothing else really around. This has been rated the BEST restaurant in the world!
Ferran Adria, is (was) the chef at El Bulli. This title of "chef" does him no justice... he is an innovator, the Albert Einstein of creating evocative delights on your tongue, soul, and senses! He is a pure classic Spaniard in spirit, he has duende for sure. He is the CEO of embedding emotions so rich and complex, while eliciting the most simplistic childlike abandon the moment you taste, sense, hear, smell and fathom his creations.
Ferran began at El Bulli around 1983 in this remote cove on the northeastern coast of Spain. 100 miles from Barcelona. A mere two hours away from much of civilization. You have to get there mainly by driving on a two lane cliff-side road. Through the treacherously winding road that is essentially a dirt path towards the end of the journey & did I mention that the wind in this area of the coast is notoriously brutal?

Blogger from A Life Worth Eating shares their experience at El Bulli while also providing this incredible photo
 (along with all the ones below) of the road leading towards the restaurant.
If you can believe it, the restaurant was only open for about 6 (SIX!) months out of the year and had some 2,000,000 (that is NOT a typo) reservation requests per year and only 8,000 were granted seats (50 seats per night) into this dining fantasy. Those fortunate enough experienced 30+ (Yes, THIRTY!)courses over 5 hours for roughly about 230 Euros.
Wouldn't you love this view? Feels like you are home!

By course 17 you would have had these yummy prawns.
Guest change tables throughout their courses. This could be your next seat. Fun!

By the 32nd course Gazpacho and Ajo Blanco!
 This is serious food and a serious experience - so serious in fact that Harvard and ESADE MBA's have actually done case studies on the famous chef and his little restaurant by the sea.

So ask yourself...Is all the hype worth it? Is this just some fancy shmansi overdone food that just looks impressive but has no heart? Well, I searched and searched the internet and found this great story about two guys who finally, after FIVE years of waiting, got the email that they had a reservation! Check out their blog The Amateur Gourmet to hear and read their story. They actually walk you through their 30 courses in a cool comic book style. You will love it!
elbulli5.jpgIf you aren't sold after reading the cute boys from The Amateur Gourmet orgasmic delights over their experience or A Life Worth Eating blog then take a look at Anthony Bourdain's recent homage to Adria on the Travel Channel.

If this still doesn't illicit solid heart pangs that you may have missed out on the most famous eating experience of your life then enjoy the Catalan beer, Estrella Damm 2011 commercial that pays its respects to the man that put them on the map in a whole other dimension.

Video clip Estrella Damm 2011: el Bulli

If this still doesn't do it (really?) then hear for yourself what comes next for the famous chef. A Charles Darwin like experiment that will likely turn how we eat, think, grow, cultivate, write about, experience, learn, and breath food completely upside down. His new El Bulli Foundation will be an inspiration to the art and soul of digestive consumption. I can't wait to see what's next!

BRAVO Ferran Adria! You are me hero, my intriguing purist, agriculturalist, scientist, and above all dare I say one of my favorite Spaniards. Ok - that's a big statement considering I have never actually met the man or eaten at El Bulli. Yep, that is correct, I have never eaten there but have read, heard, and seen so much that I know I am a fan. His book alone is amazing! So, here is a toast to my future pilgrimage to Cala Montjoi!!

Mucha salud y buena inspiracion!

Maybe one day I can sit here and enjoy the view while I have a drink with Ferran!

I would even gladly share the famous petit fours!

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