El Bulli 07

Ferran Adrià is a social phenomenon of worldly transcendence. In the last month alone he has been invited to participate in the Documenta in Kassel (Germany), nominated for the Prince of Asturias Award (Spain)… his recognition is without compare among chefs in recent decades–only Paul Bocuse had such a profound impact, and it was because of his capacity to make a profit using the brand of Nouvelle Cuisine, not for his technical and conceptual contributions, not for his creations… not for his work. We have to go back to Auguste Escoffier (1846-1935) or Antonin Carême (1783-1833) to find similar historical recognition, and that means dipping into the dubious field of discussing and comparing art from different centuries, with values and repercussions that are difficult to put into an objective framework. Beyond this assertion, we’ll go ahead and repeat one more time, for good measure, an impartial claim that we are categorically convinced of: El Bulli is a unique culinary phenomenon and, quite possibly, “unrepeatable” in history. Or at the very least we will have to sift through millions and millions of chefs and decades, if not centuries, to find someone who will express such culinary genius.
Forty-two chefs, five staff on cleanup and an ample team of servers to attend to 45 guests each night–employees who work from three in the afternoon until one in the morning to serve one seating a day. This is because of one very understandable reason: 25 or 30 dishes–depending on Adrià’s whims–for 45 clients represents an arduous, even superhuman, daily effort. Impossible to repeat.
The work of 2007 is practically perfect, though it is customary that they reach perfection from August onwards after selecting the best of the sublime yearly feast, 30 out of 100 inventions, to recreate them again with imagination and virtuosity. We just had the pleasure of trying 45 of them, which confirm the approach and qualifying elements of recent seasons. No insistence on a concrete theme, diversifying the inspiration, which is now based on the global patrimony of the work, expressing and exceeding itself with broad-mindedness and a large scope. To put it simply, what we see now is the sum of the years and the creations Ferran has invented, still bringing them to light with the same spirit and the same insight as always but, of course, with more wisdom. Genius in full bloom.
To highlight the more prolific trends, we must stress certain elements that are in full swing this year: the plentitude of fruits, the abundance of flowers, the crispiness of nuts, the seaweed baths and the passion for oceanic depths… consistent counterpoints between acidity and sweetness, reaffirming the dry airs, the lyophilizations, the crispy airs, the creamy or “liquid” rinds, the spheres and other sculptural forms… a more infinite work than ever before, exceeding the intellectual and sensory capacity of even the most accustomed gourmet.
There is no need to expound, since the artist places that function on each of the titles in his show, as it should be when one reaches such levels of magnanimity. As for the creations themselves, among those that most stood out were the mango leaves and tagete flower, the “airban” of Parmigiano-Reggiano, the meringue/profiterole of beet and yoghurt, the LYO citrus fruits, the tuna medallion in tempura with caviar, the mackerel sweetbreads with egg yolk and sesame oil caviar, the dacquoise of green pineapple and pine nuts, the salt-cured anchovies with Joselito cured ham jelly and yoghurt yuba, the razor clams with laurencia (seaweed), the polenta-coffee gnocchi, yuba with saffron and daisies, the kalix-stuffed sea cucumbers with seaweed and salicornia empanadilla (turnover)…
Don’t say anything about El Bulli. Book now for 2008, or 2009… only by visiting will you ever believe the unbelievable.

1.- Tomato couscous with oil, basil olives and parmesan2.- Tissue of flowers
3.- Sesame-miso biscuit
4.- Kalix-stuffed sea cucumbers with sea lettuce and salicornia empanada (turnover)
5. - Anchovies with ham and yoghurt yuba
6. - Polenta gnocchi with coffee, saffron grape and daisy
7. - LYO citrus fruits
8. - Citrus risotto