The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Indulgence -

ADay­atElBulli:An In­sightIn­totheIdeas,Meth­od­sand Creativ­i­ty­ofFer­ranA­dria (Phaidon, $75) is a 600-page ‘‘ day in the life of’’ com­pen­dium of­fer­ing a be­hindthe-scenes look at a typ­i­cal work­ing shift. Much like El Bulli’s ac­claimed 30-course tast­ing menu (see Cu­ri­ous Cook , above), the book is a vis­ual feast, with more than 1200 im­ages com­pris­ing pho­tos, di­a­grams, sketches, menus and dishes.

It is pre­sented in a timed for­mat, start­ing with Adria’s 10am ar­rival at his ‘‘ se­cret work­shop’’ near the restau­rant and mov­ing through the work­ing day, cov­er­ing menu de­ci­sions, shop­ping for in­gre­di­ents, creative de­vel­op­ment, reser­va­tions checks and more. The book in­cludes a run­down of the menu and pho­to­graphs of the food be­ing cre­ated each night, plus a com­pen­dium of recipes for those brave enough to try re-cre­at­ing the El Bulli ex­pe­ri­ence at home.

Among the line-up of dishes is pas­sion­fruit tree, which in­cludes in FER­RAN Adria is very much the man of the mo­ment. This mas­ter of molec­u­lar gas­tron­omy’s El Bulli restau­rant in Spain has two mil­lion reser­va­tion re­quests a year de­spite hav­ing places for only 8000; he has been named one of Time mag­a­zine’s 100 most in­flu­en­tial peo­ple and is feted across the globe for his culi­nary ge­nius.

It seems this chef couldn’t gen­er­ate more col­umn cen­time­tres if he tried, but next week Aus­tralia will ex­pe­ri­ence its own bit of Adria frenzy when he ar­rives here to em­bark on his first in­ter­na­tional au­thor tour, with lec­tures planned in Syd­ney and Mel­bourne.

His new book, its list of in­gre­di­ents three flow­er­pots and three ‘‘ at­trac­tive branches without leaves’’. Those with the ben­e­fit of a gar­den cen­tre nearby should be­gin by fill­ing the flow­er­pots with su­gar and stick­ing a branch in each. Af­ter com­man­deer­ing a fairy floss ma­chine, some ex­tra su­gar should be made into a floss and sprin­kled with pow­dered freeze-dried pas­sion­fruit crisp. The re­sul­tant fluff should be care­fully shaped into balls and hung on the branches. No cut­lery re­quired.

For those who will never get the chance to dine at Adria’s much feted es­tab­lish­ment — and there are many of us— this book is surely the next best thing, pro­vid­ing a re­mark­able win­dow into the world of a culi­nary wizard. Michelle Rowe

Out on a limb: Pas­sion­fruit tree

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