Spain’s Fer­ran Adria and Aus­tralia’s Tet­suya Wakuda and Guillaume Brahimi re­veal their ideal fi­nal feasts

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - INDULGENCE -

FER­RAN ADRIA, head chef at El Bulli restau­rant, Roses, Spain: What would be your last meal? I love seafood, so my last meal would be a tast­ing menu that fea­tured a variety of seafood, pre­pared in many dif­fer­ent ways, and in­spired by the cui­sine at Kic­cho Restau­rant in Ky­oto, Ja­pan.

Some of the dishes I would like to eat would be bam­boo with as­sorted sashimi; prawns with tuzu; clams, se­same, and nori sea­weed soup; roasted fugu; scal­lops with miso and a clam tart; daikon turnip with abalone and san­sho let­tuce; kuzu tagli­atelle with freshly grated ginger; and moun­tain potato stuffed with sweet beans and yuzu.

I would fin­ish the meal with fruit from the Ama­zon I had never tasted be­fore. What would you drink? I would drink cham­pagne, be­cause cham­pagne is magic. The bub­bles of an ex­cep­tional cham­pagne are like stars of hap­pi­ness. When I drink a great cham­pagne, my soul is happy. And the set­ting? I have en­joyed many meals dur­ing my life, some of them so mar­vel­lous that with­out a doubt they could be con­sid­ered as artis­tic an ex­pe­ri­ence as any mu­seum visit or dance per­for­mance, but I had this feel­ing the most dur­ing my visit to Kic­cho.

It was on my first trip to Ja­pan. Our hosts told my group that we were go­ing to a unique restau­rant in Ky­oto, but af­ter go­ing to so many restau­rants, we thought it would be dif­fi­cult to sur­prise us with the con­cept of how a restau­rant should be.

What was so spe­cial about it? How is it dif­fer­ent from so many oth­ers? Let me try to ex­plain.

First, we took the bul­let train from Tokyo to Ky­oto and, af­ter ar­riv­ing, strolled through the city. We ar­rived at the restau­rant at 7.30pm, Juli Soler, Al­bert Adria, Oriol Cas­tro, our Ja­panese friends and my­self. We sensed magic as soon as we en­tered; it was a strange sen­sa­tion. I feel magic is al­ways im­pos­si­ble to ex­plain.

The restau­rant is a Ja­panese house with a beau­ti­ful Zen gar­den. We crossed the gar­den, ap­proached the front door, and once inside we saw that it bore no re­la­tion to a clas­sic restau­rant. There were ap­prox­i­mately five or six dif­fer­ent rooms, each about 60sq m. The room in which we ate seated eight peo­ple and four or five wait­resses dressed in ki­mono were there to serve us. This had a strong im­pact. We had all been in the best restau­rants in the world, but none of them was like this one.

It had in­cred­i­ble at­mos­phere: the din­ing room was very Zen, dec­o­rated with flo­ral de­signs and lit­tle else. All of this cre­ated a mag­i­cal am­bi­ence. We hadn’t even eaten any­thing yet, but it was al­ready worth­while just to be there for th­ese sen­sa­tions.

They first of­fered us sake from an 18th-cen­tury bot­tle; the bot­tle was a glass jewel, the most beau­ti­ful that I have seen. I had never tasted sake like this ei­ther. All this told me that the meal would be as mag­i­cal as the set­ting.

The food was tra­di­tional Ja­panese. Each dish was pre­sented on a beau­ti­ful tray inside hand­made porce­lain crock­ery, some of it more than 100 years old.

Ev­ery­thing was won­der­ful. It was a gas­tro­nomic fi­esta. Would there be mu­sic? I would like to lis­ten to fu­sion mu­sic and the same Ber­ber mu­sic that they have at Ya­cout restau­rant in Mar­rakech, Morocco. To see Ber­ber mu­si­cians per­form­ing trans­ports you to an­ces­tral times and places, while at the same time it sounds so pro­gres­sive and mod­ern. Who would be your com­pan­ions? My com­pan­ions would be my wife, my fam­ily and my friends. Who would pre­pare the meal? Day­dream­ing, I would like to see Au­guste Es­coffier re­turn to the land of the liv­ing af­ter many years away. Then I could taste his cook­ing in per­son. For me, when we talk about gas­tron­omy, Es­coffier is the icon. I would love to lis­ten to him and to learn, above all, his phi­los­o­phy. TET­SUYA WAKUDA, chef-owner of Tet­suya’s in Syd­ney: What would be your last meal? My pas­sion is fish­ing and boat­ing. As my favourite food in the world is tuna, I want my last meal to be like this: I would be on the boat, fish­ing; we would catch a tuna, let it settle for a few days, and then eat it. I would pre­pare it in many ways: sashimi, carpac­cio, lightly seared, tartare. This is a dream meal for me. What would you drink? I love cold sake, a re­ally good one. A sake maker from Ja­pan would make it for us. And the set­ting? On a boat of any size, any place; it doesn’t mat­ter to me as long as I am on the wa­ter. Would there be mu­sic? There would just be the sounds of the wa­ter and the wind. Who would be your com­pan­ions? I would be with my sail­ing teacher John White­head and my fish­ing teacher Craig McGill. Who would pre­pare the meal? My­self and Chef II. His name re­ally is II. GUILLAUME BRAHIMI, head chef at Guillaume at Ben­ne­long in Syd­ney: What would be your last meal? Def­i­nitely a multi-course feast, start­ing with oys­ters and caviar, fol­lowed by some foie gras, then a nice piece of rib eye, and lastly some fro­mage. What would you drink? I would be­gin with a cou­ple of Crown Lagers; liv­ing in Aus­tralia for the past 12 years has made me ap­pre­ci­ate Aussie beer. I would then open a bot­tle of 2000 Do­maine Ro­ma­nee-Conti Le Mon­tra­chet, fol­lowed by a bot­tle of 1961 Chateau La­tour and — I’m as­sum­ing there will be no hang­over to­mor­row — fin­ish off with a sin­gle-malt whisky. And the set­ting? At home. As a chef, I’m home too lit­tle, so it is al­ways a great lux­ury to be in my house, seated in my favourite wing­back chair, with my chil­dren bounc­ing and play­ing around me. Would there be mu­sic? I love opera. I’d like to hear my favourite of all time, Verdi’s LaTravi­ata. Who would be your com­pan­ions? My fam­ily. I have three daugh­ters, aged one, four and seven, and I am very close to all my fam­ily in France. We’re a very Latin bunch, so it would in­volve lots of talk­ing, hug­ging, tears and laugh­ter. Who would pre­pare the meal? Def­i­nitely me. My wife has cooked only once for me, and it was when I had a rag­ing fever and was too sick to set foot in the kitchen. Edited ex­tract from MyLastSup­per by Me­lanie Dunea (Blooms­bury, dis­trib­uted by Allen & Un­win, $59.95). The pho­tog­ra­phy ex­hi­bi­tion My Last Sup­per opens at Crown Melbourne on Fe­bru­ary 26.­pre­

Pic­ture: Me­lanie Dunea/CPi/Headpress

Mag­i­cal meal: Fer­ran Adria and friends

Wiz­ards of Oz:

Tet­suya Wakuda, left, and Guillaume Brahimi

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