Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

"El Bulli: Cooking in Progress": Bare-Bones Documentary Provides Feast For the Senses 

Wednesday, Nov 9 2011
Comments

Molecular gastronomy star Ferran Adrià's Catalonian culinary paradise El Bulli served its last meal on July 31, as the overhead of running the world's most innovative and exclusive restaurant dwarfed the income recoupable from serving 8,000 $500 meals a year. Adrià plans to transform the compound into "a think tank for creative cuisine"; Cooking in Progress documents the 2008-2009 season, one of the last in El Bulli's life as a restaurant, from the start of the six-month workshopping process Adrià oversaw each year in a Barcelona kitchen lab, to the debut of his new creations in the seaside dining room. "This year is the year of water," Adrià declares, as his kitchen sets to work inventing a hazelnut oil "cocktail," "a ravioli whose pasta vanishes," and a fish dish finished with ice chips. Dozens of young punks labor to please their master. "It's simply bad," Adrià tells one of his chefs after tasting an experiment. "Don't give me anything that isn't good." The creative stakes are high: "What matters is that it's magical, that it opens up a new path," Adrià reminds. Cooking in Progress is, in fact, all magic and no path: This is extreme fly-on-the-wall vérité, with only the barest context provided (no helpful TV-style titles here—when it comes to identifying ingredients and techniques, viewers are usually left to their own devices). Newbies to the gastronomic method may find it impenetrable, but seasoned gourmands should be fully primed to geek out as the culinary impossible is realized one painstaking step at a time.

About The Author

Karina Longworth

Related Locations

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Slideshows

  • San Francisco Street Food Festival 2014
    The San Francisco Street Food Festival was another success this year. Dozens of vendors with original, unheard-of creations, such as deep fried mac and cheese on a stick, black pea paste pancakes, and Korean quesadillas. Then there was the comfort foods we've grown accustomed to, like creme bruleé, shrimp rolls, and pound cake. Photographs by Mabel Jimenez.
  • Paul McCartney @ Candlestick Park
    Thursday, August 15th marks the last concert at Candlestick Park. Who better to close out the venue than Sir Paul McCartney. Photographs by Sugarwolf.

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed