A Day In The Life Of The 'World's Best Restaurant' Perched on a remote Spanish beach, the restaurant elBulli receives 2 million reservation requests for 8,000 spots each year. Now a new book from head chef Ferran Adria lets those people who couldn't get a reservation get a glimpse of elBulli.
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A Day In The Life Of The 'World's Best Restaurant'

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A Day In The Life Of The 'World's Best Restaurant'

A Day In The Life Of The 'World's Best Restaurant'

A Day In The Life Of The 'World's Best Restaurant'

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/96044667/96147515" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Ferran Adria, head chef at elBulli, in a creative session experimenting with new gastronomical concoctions. Maribel Ruiz de Erenchun/Courtesy of Phaidon Press hide caption

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Maribel Ruiz de Erenchun/Courtesy of Phaidon Press

Ferran Adria, head chef at elBulli, in a creative session experimenting with new gastronomical concoctions.

Maribel Ruiz de Erenchun/Courtesy of Phaidon Press

At elBulli, a dish called melon con jamon, melon with ham, is served in a champagne flute. Maribel Ruiz de Erenchun/Courtesy of Phaidon Press hide caption

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Maribel Ruiz de Erenchun/Courtesy of Phaidon Press

At elBulli, a dish called melon con jamon, melon with ham, is served in a champagne flute.

Maribel Ruiz de Erenchun/Courtesy of Phaidon Press

Excerpt: 'A Day At ElBulli'

A Day at elBulli

Ingredients

  • 500 g (2 cups) milk
  • 9 x 2 g gelatin leaves, rehydrated in cold water
  • 40 g (2 2/3 tbsp) virgin pine nut oil
  • 75 g (2/3 cup) toasted pine nut powder
  • Salt

The marshmallow de pinones from elBulli. Francesc Guillamet/Courtesy of Phaidon Press hide caption

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Francesc Guillamet/Courtesy of Phaidon Press

The marshmallow de pinones from elBulli.

Francesc Guillamet/Courtesy of Phaidon Press

Marshmallow de pinones

(Pine nut marshmallows)

Serves 10

    Directions

1. Place 400 g (1 ¾ cups) milk in the freezer until it cools to 3° C/37°F.

2. Meanwhile, mix the gelatin with the remaining milk in a pan.

3. Dissolve the gelatin at 40°C/105°F and pour into a mixing bowl.

4. Start to whip the mixture. After 30 seconds, add all the cooled milk in one pour.

5. Continue to whip for 3 minutes. Add the pine nut oil.

6. Keep whipping for another 30 seconds and spread out over a transparent sheet to a thickness of 2.5 cm (1 in).

7. Refrigerate for 2 hours.

8. Cut into 2.5 cm (1 in) cubes.

9. Refrigerate in an airtight container.

10. Immediately before serving, lightly salt the cubes and coat 4 sides with toasted pine nut powder, leaving 2 uncoated sides.

    Finishing and Presentation

Serve 2 pieces per person on a blue glass tray.

Cutlery: None.

How to eat: In a single mouthful.

What happens between a restaurant and its guests?

A dish is a conversation between the chef and the guest, and the knowledge and experience of the chef, waiter and guest all inform the part they will play in a meal. The distance between the chef at the kitchen workbench and the guest at the dining room table can be reduced by the care and attention of the waiter, who performs a pivotal role by helping the guests adapt to the rhythm of the kitchen and maximize their experience of the food. The participants bring to the experience their own values, expertise and sensory perceptions, and these can be broadly categorized as follows.

CHEF: EMITTER

Ability to perceive tastes and flavours

Common sense and judgement

    Experience in other fields
  • art
  • other areas of the food industry
  • industrial design
  • science and technology
    Knowledge
  • of history and culture
  • of cooking techniques
  • of products
  • of kitchen technology

Organization

Philosophy

Creative and artistic abilities

WAITER: TRANSMITTER

Creates a warm atmosphere during dinner

Conveys the philosophy behind the food

Serves the food to the table

Explains the dishes

Controls quality

Controls timing

GUEST: RECEPTOR

    Gastronomic experience and knowledge
  • of ingredients
  • of dishes
  • of restaurants and chefs
  • of styles and characteristics
    Senses [= flavour]
  • sight
  • hearing
  • touch
  • smell
  • taste
    The sixth sense (the ability to enjoy cooking with the intellect), which can be stimulated in these ways:
  • transgression of restaurant conventions
  • childhood memories
  • magic
  • playfulness
  • irony and provocation
  • decontextualization
  • surprise
  • a 'knowing wink'
  • recognition of a cultural reference
  • confounded expectations
  • deception
    Mind
  • guests' unique interpretations of taste
    Memory
  • of ingredients
  • of family meals
  • of visits to restaurants

Spirit and emotions

Excerpted from A Day at elBulli by Ferran Adria, Albert Adria and Juli Soler. Copyright 2008, Phaidon Press Ltd.

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