You have been hearing us talk about Molecular Gastronomy quite a bit lately. We recently entered a contest hosted by Simon and Schuster in the spirit of elBulli and Ferran Adria to coincide with the publication of The Sorcerer’s Apprentices, written by Lisa Abend (and of which I reviewed here last week). Well, we did not win that contest, but we were chosen as a runner up and could not be more thrilled since it was our first experience with Molecular Gastronomy, and we are in great company with a blogger we admire greatly, Salty Seattle. You can see all the entries, the results and the judges comments here.
Thursday evening I had the opportunity to hear Ferran Adria and Lisa Abend speak at the 92nd Street Y here in NYC. It was great!
Ferran discussed the transformation of elBulli, the three Michelin-starred restaurant named best in the world five times, into the elBulliFoundation, a culinary think tank that would take molecular gastronomy to even greater heights and then disseminate that knowledge daily via the internet around the world.
The land improvement plans alone for this new foundation are astounding. Ferran showed us a few videos of the project and how he plans to create a “completely sustainable architectural complex designed to produce zero emissions”, a beautiful series of bell-shaped glass structures will be created and sustained on solar powered enegry and will house the “brain storming” hall. It’s really quite stunning to see.
When it opens in 2014, 30 or so “culinary scholars” will be selected each year from across the globe to work with the master chef. “The vision is to focus on creativity and the motto for the project is: ‘Risk-taking, freedom and creativity’,” said Adria. “There will be no timetable, no routine, no rules.”
I have no doubt what comes forth from this endeavor will be nothing short of a masterpiece.
While most of the evening was spent discussing this incredible project and the new cookbook Ferran authored that is being released in October for the “home cook” (can’t wait for that one!), we did get to hear from Lisa Abend about her time spent at elBulli as a journalist writing about the lives of the stagiaires of the kitchen of elBulli for her new book, The Sorcerer’s Apprentices (a must read!) and about all the wonderful food she was able to try.
After the discussion, we were able to attend a book signing with each of them. I had lugged Ferran’s giant, weighty, but stunningly beautiful book, A Day at elBulli and Lisa’s book with me that day along with a little camera. I introduced myself to Lisa and being incredibly nice she turned to Ferran to introduce me as one of the people who reviewed her book and entered the contest. Then she took the time to personalize our book and then introduce me to one of the contest judges and former stagiaire, Katie Button. How nice is that??? Katie is in the process of opening a traditional Spanish tapas bar in Ashville, NC with her fiance called Cúrate. If you are ever in that area, please go and check it out as it should be amazing!
Here are a couple of pictures from the book signing.
Me and Ferran, then me and Lisa.
It was a fun evening and a once in a lifetime (hopefully not!) meeting!