Ferran: The Inside Story of El Bulli and the Man Who Reinvented Food

Ferran: The Inside Story of El Bulli and the Man Who Reinvented Food

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by Colman Andrews
     
 

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The first-ever biography of Ferran Adrià, the chef behind Spain's renowned El Bulli restaurant, by one of the world's foremost food authorities.

More than just the most influential chef of the late-twentieth and early-twenty- first century, Ferran Adrià is arguably the greatest culinary revolutionary of our time. Hailed as a genius and a

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Overview

The first-ever biography of Ferran Adrià, the chef behind Spain's renowned El Bulli restaurant, by one of the world's foremost food authorities.

More than just the most influential chef of the late-twentieth and early-twenty- first century, Ferran Adrià is arguably the greatest culinary revolutionary of our time. Hailed as a genius and a prophet by fellow chefs, worshipped (if often misunderstood) by critics and lay diners alike, Adrià is imitated and paid homage to in professional kitchens, and more than a few private ones, all over the world. A reservation at his one and only restaurant, El Bulli, is so coveted that scoring a table is harder than nabbing fifty-yardline tickets to the Super Bowl.

In his lively close-up portrait of Adrià, award-winning food writer Colman Andrews traces this groundbreaking chef's rise from resort-hotel dishwasher to culinary deity, and the evolution of El Bulli from a German-owned beach bar into the establishment voted annually by an international jury to be "the world's best restaurant." Taking the reader from Adrià's Franco-era childhood near Barcelona through El Bulli's wildly creative "disco-beach" days and into the modern-day creative wonderland of Adrià's restaurant kitchen and the workshop- laboratory where his innovations are born and refined, Andrews blends sweeping storytelling with culinary history to explore Adrià's extraordinary contributions to the way we eat.

Through original techniques like deconstruction, spherification, and the creation of culinary foams and airs, Adrià has profoundly reimagined the basic characteristics of food's forms, while celebrating and intensifying the natural flavors of his raw materials. Yet, argues Andrews, these innovations may not be his most impressive achievements. Instead, Adrià's sheer creativity and courageous imagination are his true genius-a genius that transcends the chef's métier and can inspire and enlighten all of us.

Entertaining and intimate, Ferran brings to life the most exciting food movement of our time and illuminates the ways in which Adrià has changed our world- forever altering our understanding and appreciation of food and cooking.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Ferran Adrià, the chef responsible for turning El Bulli in Catalonia, Spain, into one of the world's most acclaimed restaurants, has been called a charlatan, an enemy of good sense and real food just as much as he has been proclaimed a prophet and worshipped by fellow chefs and lay diners, and imitated in restaurants all over the world. Before Ferran was featured in a 2003 New York Times Magazine article, El Bulli struggled to fill seats; the Times story about Ferran and his nueva cuisine catapulted the restaurant into the stratosphere and helped to shape Ferran's iconic status. Soon, more than 300,000 people tried to make reservations for about 8,000 slots. In a combination of fan's notes and compulsively readable biography, food writer Andrews traces Ferran's rise to success and his deconstruction and reinvention of food. Ferran has upended the stockpots, snuffed out the wood-fire grill, and let the larder run wild, reinventing food by working with such techniques as caramelization, liquification, emulsification, "spherification," and food-based "foams" and "airs." Thus, included among the 30 or so dishes in one dinner that food critic Andrews (The Country Cooking of Ireland) ate at El Bulli were sake sorbet with yuzu foam and tonic, gorgonzola mochi (pounded Japanese rice paste enclosing a blue cheese-flavored liquid), and coco with caviar (coconut milk and thickened coconut water topped with three spoonfuls of caviar). Andrews's lovingly crafted story wonderfully records the tale of a brilliant and inventive chef. (Oct.)
From the Publisher
"An essential biography...about the most creative groundbreaking and important chef of the last decade." - Anthony Bourdain

"A fascinating portrait that everyone who cares about the evolution of food will want to read." - Ruth Reichl, author of Tender at the Bone

Kirkus Reviews

Saveur co-founder and former Gourmet magazine columnist Andrews (The Country Cooking of Ireland, 2009, etc.) chronicles and applauds the career of Ferran Adrià, a chef whose El Bulli restaurant became a lighthouse of innovation and experimentation.

The author doesn't conceal his admiration and awe of his subject. He continually refers to Adrià as a genius and the most influential chef in the world—perhaps in history. Andrews received Adrià's permission to write his story—though Adrià publishes his own books and produces numerous videos about his culinary philosophy and practices—and spent two years with enviable access to the chef and to his remote restaurant near the town of Rosas in the Catalonia region of Spain. The author also interviewed many of Adrià's friends, colleagues and rivals. Early in the text, Andrews describes a 40-course meal he ate in El Bulli—it takes nearly eight pages to mention them all—a meal that will be among the last the restaurant will serve in its present incarnation. Andrews then relates the history of the restaurant, telling how Adrià began his career as a dishwasher but studied classic recipes and techniques. While in the army, he began cooking for an admiral, hooked up with future celebrity chef (and now friend) Fermí Puig and went to work for El Bulli with Puig in the late 1980s. The author emphasizes Adrià's ferocious work ethic, his eagerness to share what he has learned and his explorations of the arts and sciences. Andrews tells how Adrià eventually became an owner of El Bulli and how he expanded the business into research, catering and other enterprises. Throughout, Andrews staunchly defends his subject against all detractors.

A wildly partisan paean to Adrià and a celebration of culinary wonders.

-Anthony Bourdain
"An essential biography...about the most creative groundbreaking and important chef of the last decade."
-Ruth Reichl
"A fascinating portrait that everyone who cares about the evolution of food will want to read."

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781592405725
Publisher:
Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date:
10/07/2010
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
7.46(w) x 11.28(h) x 1.17(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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