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LPShanet

World's best modern/molecular restaurants

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I'm not familiar with O's Steak and Seafood. What is that place all about? The name certainly does not provide any indication of belonging on this list, but as we all know, names can be deceptive.

It's an MG restaurant in a Westin in Denver, from what I've read. The chef's name is Ian Kleinman. Here's an article about the place.

Although the offerings change weekly, an evening might include sweet-corn purée served in individual pipettes to be squeezed into the mouth and chased with pickled red jalapeño and bites of roasted lobster. Or, you might be served test tubes of contrasting elixirs offering the essence of sweet pomegranate, maple butternut squash, and ginger quince, followed by truffle-puffed wild rice, or finally beer-braised pork belly with cauliflower purée, elephant-garlic jam, and a dandelion reduction.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
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I will list the best restaurants that I have been to that I think qualify for this list. As such, I will not list meals that were not held in full-fledged restaurants such as those I have enjoyed from Alex and Aki and Shola Olunloyo.

In no particular order, but as they pop into my head:

  • elBulli
    Can Roca
    Arzak
    Ca Sento
    Alkimia
    Abac
    Sant Pau
    L'Esguard
    Monastrell
    Osteria Francescana
    L'Astrance
    minibar
    Cafe Atlantico
    Alinea
    WD-50
    Tailor
    Coi
    Binkley's

Most of the list above is pretty clear cut, though there might be a few that are debatable. There are a number of restaurants that I omitted, even though they may use a smattering of techniques. The preponderance of their approach is based more on the preceding nouvelle cuisine than a full scale technoemotional approach. Though currently closed, I believe L'Esguard belongs there, even though the specific techniques employed are distinct from any of the other restaurants. Nevertheless, the spirit is the same.

How could I forget to add Moto to this list? There are probably others I've missed as well, but that was a glaring omission. :wacko:


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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I'm not familiar with O's Steak and Seafood. What is that place all about? The name certainly does not provide any indication of belonging on this list, but as we all know, names can be deceptive.

It's an MG restaurant in a Westin in Denver, from what I've read. The chef's name is Ian Kleinman. Here's an article about the place.

Although the offerings change weekly, an evening might include sweet-corn purée served in individual pipettes to be squeezed into the mouth and chased with pickled red jalapeño and bites of roasted lobster. Or, you might be served test tubes of contrasting elixirs offering the essence of sweet pomegranate, maple butternut squash, and ginger quince, followed by truffle-puffed wild rice, or finally beer-braised pork belly with cauliflower purée, elephant-garlic jam, and a dandelion reduction.

Sounds interesting. Another chef and restaurant that I have heard good things about and qualifies for this list is Kurtis Jantz and Neomi's at The Trump International Sonesta in Miami.


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Reading another topic just know brought to mind another omission on my list - Ken Oringer's Clio in Boston - one of the pioneers of this approach in the US and still going strong. This restaurant was the breeding ground of the likes of Alex Stupac, Alex Talbot, Aki Kamozawa and Rick Billings amongst others.


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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I will list the best restaurants that I have been to that I think qualify for this list. As such, I will not list meals that were not held in full-fledged restaurants such as those I have enjoyed from Alex and Aki and Shola Olunloyo.

In no particular order, but as they pop into my head:

  • elBulli
    Can Roca
    Arzak
    Ca Sento
    Alkimia
    Abac
    Sant Pau
    L'Esguard
    Monastrell
    Osteria Francescana
    L'Astrance
    minibar
    Cafe Atlantico
    Alinea
    WD-50
    Tailor
    Coi
    Binkley's

Most of the list above is pretty clear cut, though there might be a few that are debatable. There are a number of restaurants that I omitted, even though they may use a smattering of techniques. The preponderance of their approach is based more on the preceding nouvelle cuisine than a full scale technoemotional approach. Though currently closed, I believe L'Esguard belongs there, even though the specific techniques employed are distinct from any of the other restaurants. Nevertheless, the spirit is the same.

How could I forget to add Moto to this list? There are probably others I've missed as well, but that was a glaring omission. :wacko:

Great list, Doc. Now I'm really going to put you on the spot and ask you to rank them. Or at least list your top 10. I've been to about half of your list, and am curious to compare.

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I will list the best restaurants that I have been to that I think qualify for this list. As such, I will not list meals that were not held in full-fledged restaurants such as those I have enjoyed from Alex and Aki and Shola Olunloyo.

In no particular order, but as they pop into my head:

  • elBulli
    Can Roca
    Arzak
    Ca Sento
    Alkimia
    Abac
    Sant Pau
    L'Esguard
    Monastrell
    Osteria Francescana
    L'Astrance
    minibar
    Cafe Atlantico
    Alinea
    WD-50
    Tailor
    Coi
    Binkley's

Most of the list above is pretty clear cut, though there might be a few that are debatable. There are a number of restaurants that I omitted, even though they may use a smattering of techniques. The preponderance of their approach is based more on the preceding nouvelle cuisine than a full scale technoemotional approach. Though currently closed, I believe L'Esguard belongs there, even though the specific techniques employed are distinct from any of the other restaurants. Nevertheless, the spirit is the same.

How could I forget to add Moto to this list? There are probably others I've missed as well, but that was a glaring omission. :wacko:

Great list, Doc. Now I'm really going to put you on the spot and ask you to rank them. Or at least list your top 10. I've been to about half of your list, and am curious to compare.

I hate to disappoint you, but I'm not sure that I can outside of 1 & 2, which would be elBulli and Alinea in that order. They all have special memories for me and were sources of unique and wonderful meals. I might go so far as to put Ca Sento as number 3.


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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What about El Poblet and Mugaritz?

I would also add Oud Sluis and De Librije in the Netherlands, t'Zilte, De Jonkman, In the Wulf in Belgium. L'Arnsbourg in Alsace.

In Germany I strongly recommend Joachim Wissler (Vendome in Bensberg) and Restaurant Amador (in Langen near Frankfurt). Molecular techniques are intelligently used to improve taste and not to impress the diner.

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I will list the best restaurants that I have been to that I think qualify for this list. As such, I will not list meals that were not held in full-fledged restaurants such as those I have enjoyed from Alex and Aki and Shola Olunloyo.

In no particular order, but as they pop into my head:

  • elBulli
    Can Roca
    Arzak
    Ca Sento
    Alkimia
    Abac
    Sant Pau
    L'Esguard
    Monastrell
    Osteria Francescana
    L'Astrance
    minibar
    Cafe Atlantico
    Alinea
    WD-50
    Tailor
    Coi
    Binkley's

Most of the list above is pretty clear cut, though there might be a few that are debatable. There are a number of restaurants that I omitted, even though they may use a smattering of techniques. The preponderance of their approach is based more on the preceding nouvelle cuisine than a full scale technoemotional approach. Though currently closed, I believe L'Esguard belongs there, even though the specific techniques employed are distinct from any of the other restaurants. Nevertheless, the spirit is the same.

How could I forget to add Moto to this list? There are probably others I've missed as well, but that was a glaring omission. :wacko:

Great list, Doc. Now I'm really going to put you on the spot and ask you to rank them. Or at least list your top 10. I've been to about half of your list, and am curious to compare.

I hate to disappoint you, but I'm not sure that I can outside of 1 & 2, which would be elBulli and Alinea in that order. They all have special memories for me and were sources of unique and wonderful meals. I might go so far as to put Ca Sento as number 3.

As it happens, those are my top two as well! Clearly, if our tastes continue to have so much in common, I'm going to have to consult you regularly on my eating travels:)

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What about El Poblet and Mugaritz?

I would also add Oud Sluis and De Librije in the Netherlands, t'Zilte, De Jonkman, In the Wulf in Belgium. L'Arnsbourg in Alsace.

In Germany I strongly recommend Joachim Wissler (Vendome in Bensberg) and Restaurant Amador (in Langen near Frankfurt). Molecular techniques are intelligently used to improve taste and not to impress the diner.

I haven't yet eaten at Mugaritz and was disappointed with El Poblet, though clearly it has a place on a list such as this - just not my personal one.

Another contender for this list, which I hope to try soon is Paul Liebrandt's Corton.

The other restaurants mentioned sound interesting as well.


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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I will list the best restaurants that I have been to that I think qualify for this list. As such, I will not list meals that were not held in full-fledged restaurants such as those I have enjoyed from Alex and Aki and Shola Olunloyo.

In no particular order, but as they pop into my head:

  • elBulli
    Can Roca
    Arzak
    Ca Sento
    Alkimia
    Abac
    Sant Pau
    L'Esguard
    Monastrell
    Osteria Francescana
    L'Astrance
    minibar
    Cafe Atlantico
    Alinea
    WD-50
    Tailor
    Coi
    Binkley's

Most of the list above is pretty clear cut, though there might be a few that are debatable. There are a number of restaurants that I omitted, even though they may use a smattering of techniques. The preponderance of their approach is based more on the preceding nouvelle cuisine than a full scale technoemotional approach. Though currently closed, I believe L'Esguard belongs there, even though the specific techniques employed are distinct from any of the other restaurants. Nevertheless, the spirit is the same.

How could I forget to add Moto to this list? There are probably others I've missed as well, but that was a glaring omission. :wacko:

Great list, Doc. Now I'm really going to put you on the spot and ask you to rank them. Or at least list your top 10. I've been to about half of your list, and am curious to compare.

I hate to disappoint you, but I'm not sure that I can outside of 1 & 2, which would be elBulli and Alinea in that order. They all have special memories for me and were sources of unique and wonderful meals. I might go so far as to put Ca Sento as number 3.

As it happens, those are my top two as well! Clearly, if our tastes continue to have so much in common, I'm going to have to consult you regularly on my eating travels:)

One good thing about a site like this is that over time one gets a sense of how the tastes of others compare to one's own and one can apply that and extrapolate to other restaurants.


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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I think its also interesting that all of these restaurants are in fact very different from each other. Some are very formal and some are casual and some just have a service category all its own with a very unique style of service.

The design the concepts, they are all trying to show you something different....but they all employ modern techniques which makes me wonder whether its just evolution and eventually most of the world's top restaurants will be considered modern one way or another?

That aside I think it really comes down to the fact that all of these restaurants directly reflect the personal style and passion of the chef...


Edited by chefAZ (log)

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Just curious, how do the American ones rate against each other and the world? I've been reading a lot that Alinea is number one in the country. How does wd-50 rank?

It's not really a big deal, but I'm going to wd-50 this weekend and would like to know how it compares.

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Just curious, how do the American ones rate against each other and the world? I've been reading a lot that Alinea is number one in the country. How does wd-50 rank?

It's not really a big deal, but I'm going to wd-50 this weekend and would like to know how it compares.

Wylie is one of the most highly regarded American chefs amongst the Vanguardists. WD-50 would be on anybody's list of the top technoemotional restaurants in the world who is interested in putting together such lists. WD-50 is in my top 5 of American restaurants and probably in my top ten internationally.


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Agreed. I've the Town House blog on my reading list for some time now, and the food certainly looks amazing. The chefs are John Shields and Karen Urie-- he was a sous chef at Alinea and she was the pastry chef at Charlie Trotter's.

So Shields at Town House, Curtis Duffy at Avenues, Alex Stupak at WD50... what are other former Alinea chefs doing? kind of fun to play "where are they now"

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What about El Poblet and Mugaritz?

I would also add Oud Sluis and De Librije in the Netherlands, t'Zilte, De Jonkman, In the Wulf in Belgium. L'Arnsbourg in Alsace.

In Germany I strongly recommend Joachim Wissler (Vendome in Bensberg) and Restaurant Amador (in Langen near Frankfurt). Molecular techniques are intelligently used to improve taste and not to impress the diner.

I haven't yet eaten at Mugaritz and was disappointed with El Poblet, though clearly it has a place on a list such as this - just not my personal one.

Another contender for this list, which I hope to try soon is Paul Liebrandt's Corton.

The other restaurants mentioned sound interesting as well.

I think Mugaritz was actually on my original list at the top of the thread. Eating there was a great experience, sort of a combination of elements from Blue Hill (the setting and farm-like ethos) and El Bulli (the high tech food served in a low tech ambience). While he was still refining his craft at the time I was there, it was one of the most memorable meals I can remember having, if a bit inconsistent in terms of deliciousness. It's the only time in my life I can say that I distinctly tasted each individual leaf in a salad (because each one was different and notable)...and I'm not even a salad person. Apparently, Aduriz has come a long way since (and added two more Michelin stars), but it was very memorable even then.

From what I've heard, Corton might not really go in this category, even though many of Liebrandt's previous efforts definitely did (like what he was doing at Gilt). The techno component is apparently quite toned down at Corton. Will have a full report on that in two weeks or so, as I'm going there at least once during that time.

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Just curious, how do the American ones rate against each other and the world? I've been reading a lot that Alinea is number one in the country. How does wd-50 rank?

It's not really a big deal, but I'm going to wd-50 this weekend and would like to know how it compares.

Obviously, this is very subjective. As has been said, Wylie is mentioned in the same breath as all of the international culinary stars in the genre. I've had some really amazing meals at WD-50. Still, on a personal level, I found Alinea to be even better, by a notable margin. While the food at WD-50 was and is groundbreaking, original and fun to eat, the entire experience at Alinea was, for me, really special. Not only did everything taste incredible, but the meal itself was elevated to the level of a performance rather than just a dinner, but without coming off as stuffy. The food there was among the best-tasting I've had at any restaurant, while also being the most conceptual and creative. Having been to quite a few restaurants in this genre around the world, and notably in Spain, which has long been considered the leading edge of this whole movement, I'd have to say that Alinea ranks for me in the very top echelon anywhere in the world (along with El Bulli). It was in my top two, just as it was in Doc's. I'd put WD-50 in the top 10, but definitely not in the top 3-4 for my personal taste. At its best, I think WD-50 belongs well inside that top 10, but I've also had meals there that didn't come together in all ways that they could. Maybe some of that is the price of experimentation, but there are places that have succeeded with me on an even higher level.

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Noma, Copenhagen, Denmark

Amador, Langen, Germany

Denis Martin, Vevey , Switzerland

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thomas keller is not happy with this list!

Not to take anything away from Keller or Kinch, but I don't think either belong on this list. Not because they are not great chefs nor because their restaurants aren't great either, but because they are not "molecular", at least not in the sense I believe the question of this topic asked. I believe that this topic is beginning to see encroachment of restaurants that don't really belong to the category, even though they may be great in their own rights.

There certainly are many more Spanish restaurants that can find their ways to this list, though. The surface has only been scratched there.

Thomas Keller uses the science of thought to push the chemisty of molecular gastromony to a level that few great chefs are able to reach. He also takes whether it be molecular or natural gastronomy to a level that keeps the perfection of the pairing of wine and cuisine, which I feel creates the experience.

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thomas keller is not happy with this list!

Not to take anything away from Keller or Kinch, but I don't think either belong on this list. Not because they are not great chefs nor because their restaurants aren't great either, but because they are not "molecular", at least not in the sense I believe the question of this topic asked. I believe that this topic is beginning to see encroachment of restaurants that don't really belong to the category, even though they may be great in their own rights.

There certainly are many more Spanish restaurants that can find their ways to this list, though. The surface has only been scratched there.

Thomas Keller uses the science of thought to push the chemisty of molecular gastromony to a level that few great chefs are able to reach. He also takes whether it be molecular or natural gastronomy to a level that keeps the perfection of the pairing of wine and cuisine, which I feel creates the experience.

Molecular gastronomy is the new frontier and will change the look, feel and taste of foods for the future only as long as cusine is always at the fore front and the show only assists! Foods are created to be paired with wines and when the show distracts the perfect pairing we have crossed the line.

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L'Enclume, UK

Oaxen Skargardskrog, Sweden

There's my 2 pence worth.

I am so over this whole molecular thing. Why can't a chef source outstanding products and do as little as possible to it. Why do "molecular" chef's need to make a foam or gelee or "risotto" and show no respect to an ingredient. I don't mean chef's at the high end places (Alinea, WD50, Mugaritz, Gagnaire, El Bulli, Fat Duck etc) but the average chef.

Look, I'm 25 and I know most of my colleagues around my age and younger love it. And when they cook something it has to be molecular. And it just doesn't work. It seems these places are shaping their future. I think they need to learn the basics before trying the new.

So, FWIW and in no particular order my top 8:

Influential:

I guess this is subjective... Everyone has their own influences...

El Bulli

Fat Duck

French Laundry

Savoy

Robuchon

Ducasse - Louis XV & ADPA

Gordon Ramsay

Alinea

Molecular:

Gagnaire

El Bulli

Fat Duck

Mugaritz

Alinea

WD50

Veyrat

Per Se

Modern: (I'm not going Molecular here... At least not out and out molecular restaurants. I don't mind if they have the occasional touch of molecular)

L'Arpege

French Laundry

Louis XV

Bras

Roellinger

L'Astrance

L'Arnsbourg

Ledoyen

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And let us not forget Interlude in Melbourne, and Tapas Molecular Bar in Tokyo.

Interlude is no more. Reserve and Fenix were two other Melbourne restaurants that tried the "molecular gastronomy" path, and both of them closed their doors over the past five years. Still, the influence of el Bulli, Fat Duck, and co. can be seen on Australian menus with the use of foams, low pressure cooking, unexpected flavour combinations, etc.

Two places in Australia (and I haven't been to either of them) who might be included in a list of molecular gastronomy restaurants are the Royal Mail Hotel (www.royalmail.com.au) in Dunkeld, Victoria and Marque (www.marquerestaurant.com.au) in Sydney, New South Wales. Dan Hunter of the Royal Mail Hotel was a former head chef at Mugaritz in Spain.

At the other end of the scale, there's a place called Tender Trap (www.tendertrap.com.au) where....well.....here's the review from Epicure -

http://www.theage.com.au/news/reviews/tend...6377235127.html


Daniel Chan aka "Shinboners"

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I am so over this whole molecular thing. Why can't a chef source outstanding products and do as little as possible to it. Why do "molecular" chef's need to make a foam or gelee or "risotto" and show no respect to an ingredient. I don't mean chef's at the high end places (Alinea, WD50, Mugaritz, Gagnaire, El Bulli, Fat Duck etc) but the average chef.

Ah, you'll cringe if you read the Age review of Tender Trap in my post above.

Look, I'm 25 and I know most of my colleagues around my age and younger love it. And when they cook something it has to be molecular. And it just doesn't work. It seems these places are shaping their future. I think they need to learn the basics before trying the new.

In Keller's "Under Pressure" one of his chefs writes about how young chefs still need to know the basics of cooking before they can really use the new techniques. After all, without the basics, how can they know that the new techniques will deliver the results they need?

In Australia, Alla Wolf-Tasker from the Lake House restaurant (Victoria, Australia) said the same thing. She's concerned that there will be a generation of chefs who can use all the latest equipment and ingredients, but won't know how to make a good stock from scratch.

The thing is that Adria, Blementhal, Keller, Achatz, and co. were all well grounded in traditional techniques before they moved onto the cutting edge of cooking.


Daniel Chan aka "Shinboners"

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      In his introduction of Ferran Adria, Thomas Keller -- perhaps the most celebrated American chef ever -- described four elements that go into making a great chef. The chef must be aware. Once aware of one’s culinary and other surroundings that chef can then be inspired, which leads to the ability to interpret those surroundings. But a great chef does not stop there. Instead, the great chef continues to evolve. Ferran Adria, perhaps more than any other chef who has ever lived, is the embodiment of those four elements.

      The moment that Ferran Adria strode towards Thomas Keller on the stage at the CIA/Greystone’s World of Flavors’ “Spain and the World Table” Conference was electric -- as if a giant Van de Graf generator had been turned on. The feeling didn’t subside when Adria took the stage from Keller; it only became more pronounced as the packed crowd rose to its feet, raining applause, admiration and love on the Spanish master. Adria accepted the response with aplomb, and gave it right back to the audience -- and to his fellow Spanish cocineros, who were standing off to the side. He brought each one up to join him on the stage for a rousing thank-you to the conference organizers, sponsors and participants. Once this emotional release subsided, Adria got down to what everyone had been waiting for -- his discussion and demonstration.

      Ferran Adria, with eyes sparkling like the finest cava, began speaking Spanish in a voice as gravelly as the beaches of the Costa Brava, while Conference Chairman Jose Andres translated. The crowd, hushed and straining for every word, moved forward in their seats as Adria explained El Bulli and himself, with a lesson in recent culinary history thrown in. Ferran explained that El Bulli is not a business. While offshoots of El Bulli are operated on a for-profit basis, the restaurant runs without profit as a primary motivation. For example, he said, the greatest difficulty they have is distributing reservations. Given the extraordinary demand and the severely limited supply, he explained that they could simply raise the price of a meal to the point where the supply and demand met. Indeed, the price of a meal at El Bulli is in itself quite reasonable given the stature of the restaurant and well within means of most motivated diners should they be able to get there, and this is how Adria prefers it. He stated that he was not interested in cooking solely for those with the most money. He prefers to work for people with a true interest in exploring the limits of cooking with him. To this end he showed a short film depicting “A Day in the Life . . .” of El Bulli set to the Beatles’ song of the same name. The film showed a couple’s response to the experience.

      Ferran’s voyage into creativity began with a visit to Jacques Maxima at Le Chanticleer Restaurant in Nice, France. He learned from Maxima that to be creative is not to copy. This idea changed his entire approach to cooking -- from making classic cuisine to making his own. Aware of elaborate books of French cuisine, Adria resolved to catalogue his work, the results of which are the richly detailed El Bulli books, published by period. These books, as wonderful as they are, are huge and extremely expensive. During his presentation, Adria announced -- and demonstrated -- that the individual dishes photographed and described in a chronology within each book are all now available online at elbulli.com.

      He finished the philosophical discussion by talking about the general style of haute cuisine that he and others are engaged in. While others have coined the term “molecular gastronomy” to highlight the scientific component of the creativity involved, Adria rejected it, saying that all cooking is molecular: most of his techniques are in fact rather simple and don’t employ radical new technology. Most of the technology that they do use has been around for some time; they have simply adapted it to their own purposes. Nevertheless, he applauds contributions to gastronomy from Harold McGee and other food scientists, and welcomes their collaboration in the kitchen. He has yet to find a term that describes the movement: as of now, he feels that there really is no good name for this style of cooking.

      More than any other single thing, Ferran Adria is known for the use of “foams” in cooking. While he is proud of his achievements with foams, he stressed that while appropriate in some circumstances, the real utility of foams is limited. He bemoans their ubiquity -- and wishes to not be blamed for others’ poor deployment of the concept. In the course of describing this and other techniques, Adria made a point of stating that using them should not be inferred as copying. Techniques and concepts are to be used and shared. He invited everyone to learn and harness whatever they found interesting, and to employ it in to their own pursuits.

      Another set of techniques discussed and demonstrated by the master and his assistant, Rafa Morales from Hacienda Benazuza, included three types of spherification. These included the use of calcium chloride (CaCl) and sodium alginate as well as the converse, and exploration of a new agent, gluconodeltalactone. The original combinations of alginate into CaCl for “caviar” production, and CaCl into alginate for larger “spheres” have chemistry-related limits as to what can be sphericized. In private correspondence, Harold McGee explained to me that Adria described encapsulating a mussel in its own juice. While this would make the dish technically an aspic, unlike conventional aspics it remains a liquid. Adria said that though gluconodeltalactone is very new, and they are just beginning to get a handle on it, he is very excited by it. He also demonstrated a machine for spherification on a larger scale than they had originally been able to do, as well as liquid nitrogen and freeze-drying (lyophilization) techniques. At the conclusion of his demonstration -- and thus the Conference -- the audience once again awarded him a standing ovation.

      While Adria’s appearance was the culmination of the conference, the energy it produced was not just because of his stature in the world of gastronomy -- it was also due to the excitement generated by the conference that preceded it. If there had previously been any doubt, Thomas Keller’s welcome of Adria was a clarion: Spanish cuisine has landed on North American shores and is finding a niche in the North American psyche. Spanish cuisine -- in its multifaceted, delicious entirety -- lives here, too.

      + + + + +

      John M. Sconzo, M.D., aka docsconz, is an anesthesiologist practicing in upstate New York. He grew up in Brooklyn in an Italian-American home, in which food was an important component of family life. It still is. His passions include good food, wine and travel. John's gastronomic interests in upstate northeastern New York involve finding top-notch local producers of ingredients and those who use them well. A dedicated amateur, John has no plans to ditch his current career for one in the food industry. Host, New York.
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