Has anyone reviewed Ferran Adria's work?
We've heard so much about Chef Adria and his restaurant El Bulli in Spain. His experimental takes on cuisine are compelling...but have any Chowhounders actually eaten there? Are there any reliable reviews about his work or his place? Or is he viewed as one of those unique talents that are beyond such things. I am curious...
Bourdain made a show of a trip there which I thought was very informative:
The genre or movement of "molecular gastronomy" has many practitioners, including pure scientists, like Hervé This in France, and science writers, like Harold McGee, to other chefs, like Heston Blumenthal in the UK and Wylie Dufresne in NYC. Adria is unique in many ways - he closes down his restaurant for 6 months out of the year just to experiment in his lab - and he has originated many of the techniques that have become more and more utilized, but the other leaders in the field are unique in their own way. Like all movements, there are plenty of wannabees - second tier chefs that copy the leaders, but produce no original work. And that's ok too - we can't all get to Barcelona, and even if we did, we can't all get reservations at El Bulli. If these guys can do it well, then they're at least spreading the techniques.
Heston Blumenthal's UK TV series, In Search of Perfection: Reinventing Kitchen Classics is a wonderful way to see how these guys think - maybe even experiment at home. The series was floating around for a while, the book is still available:
Bittman also has an episode that includes an Adria segment on his Best Recipes in the World series. Episode 109, Cutting Edge, is playing today and Tuesday on Create TV
"EPISODE 9: The Cutting Edge
To call one restaurant the "best in the world" seems ridiculous, arbitrary and totally subjective. But in the case of El Bulli, Bitty believes the statement is valid. This entire episode is dedicated to the genius of Chef Ferran Adria. But to understand one genius sometimes you have to look at the work of another, so Bitty visits Valencia to see the architecture of Santiago Calatrava, in an attempt to discover why Spain is at the cutting edge of so many different art forms."
the 'recipe' for this episode is really a description of several items he sampled on the latest visit.
It was interesting that Jose Andres acted as the translator for Ferran in this episode. Jose has a El Bulli visit in his Made in Spain series. It is also curious in light of how many hounds think the other Bittman series (Spain on the Road Again) is inferior to Made in Spain.
I wonder if Mario and company managed to get reservations at El Bulli.
Have you done a search on the International board? Surely people have posted about their experiences there.
He's undoubtedly been receiving reviews all along, just like any restaurateur; not quite sure what you're asking? For instance, here's a Guardian review from 2002.