Oh I wish that I was blogging about eating at El Bulli rather than just watching documentaries about it but since Chef Ferran has now closed its doors for good it’s all we got. For our first dose of El Bulli Alex and I watched the documentary ‘El Bulli – Cooking in Progress’ which followed Chef Ferran and his team for over a year. Including the six months of every year when the restaurant is closed so that the chefs can relocate to Barcelona to experiment and start devising the new menu. El Bulli was famous for Ferran’s innovative approach to gastronomy especially molecular gastronomy. But, what is obvious from the documentary is that it is not molecular gastronomy just for the sake of it they really want to push the boundaries and excite themselves and their customers. It is slow in parts but there are some great scenes as they take their produce (e.g. sweet potato) and compare and contrast various cooking techniques to see just how far they can transform it. Everything is painfully recorded in detail, and woe betide the chef who doesn’t back up or have a copy of Spin Rite to hand for when his hard drive fails.  There is a great bit at the market where the chefs have to buy just five grapes and three beans as that’s all they need to experiment with, and the stall holders hold them in such high esteem they let them get away with it! The documentary is definitely worth a watch if gastro-porn is your thing.

We followed up our viewing of the documentary with Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservation episode focused on El Bulli. It was a perfect pairing (like mint choc chip ice-cream) and after the serious tone of the document No Reservation’s lightened things up though it was obvious how much Bourdain respects Chef Ferran. It was funny seeing Bourdain working the line (hands shaking with all the detail work), and the joy when he was eating his way through the tasting menu.  Made me wish we’d try to get a reservation there as it would have been worth the trip to Spain.

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