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Adria's potato chips

21 posts in this topic

Adria is now hawking Lay's potato chips (I am not making this up).

Now, don't get me wrong--the potato chips were delicious, and I would never turn down an opportunity to dine at El Bulli, but does anyone else think that Adria's pushing the envelope of overexposure?

He has truly become the "Wolfgang Puck" of Spain:

AdriaLays.jpg

[edited for typo]

Note from the host: This topic has been split from elBulli 2006 reservations


Edited by pedro (log)

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Adria is now hawking Lay's potato chips (I am not making this up).

Now, don't get me wrong--the potato chips were delicious, and I would never turn down an opportunity to dine at El Bulli, but does anyone else think that Adria's pushing the envelope of overexposure? 

He has truly become the "Wolfgang Puck" of Spain:

AdriaLays.jpg

[edited for typo]

I believe that he is trying to counter an impression of elitism. This may be an interesting discussion for another thread. :wink:


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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Yeah, I wondered when these would surface on egullet. There’s a tiny picture of The Man on the back of the package. I found them to be too greasy—the chips are thin and can barely hold the weight of the heavy oil used.

Maybe chef Adria’s putting his foot in the door with this first product and we’ll see interesting flavours down the line. But for decades, the Brits have been serving up interestingly seasoned crisps (steak and onion is my fave). Why do the same?

(Moderators, move this thread somewhere. It could be an interesting discussion of how high end creativity can move into the mass market products. )

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The chips are not his first commercial product by any means. Two years ago I had some gazpacho in a carton branded by Adria. I believe he is striving for a populist approach to balance the esoteric aspects of El Bulli. He has always said how much he loves and respects traditional cuisine and that even his cuisine at El Bulli is always a takeoff from traditional Catalan and Spanish cuisines and perhaps other cuisines as well.

While in Spain I bought a book on Ferran Adria Cooking at Home. While I haven't yet tried any of the recipes, they appear to be very doable and good. Interestingly, one of the recipes is for a tortilla with potatoes using potato chips crushed from a bag!

These products plus Fast-Good in Madrid are examples of this side of his ouvre.


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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IMHO, in this case he's leveraging his brand and making money from it. Nothing wrong about it.


PedroEspinosa (aka pedro)

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By "first product" I meant the partnership with a global mass market food company like Lays. Reaching the everyday person through accessible cookbooks, newspapers, etc. is common fare. Working on food design with a Frito Lays or other company is something new, isn't it? I may be wrong....

I look forward to the results.

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Ive seen his name on diffrent infused oils a while ago. I also saw these chips in the stores in spain this summer. its his business what he does with his name, so I dont care...

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You're missing the point.

What's fascinating is the opportunity to reach people with no culinary interests by designing innovative stuff with a global company, not just a business aimed at gourmands.

What kind of cool foods can result from Adria's access to industrial-level technology and huge markets? Wouldn't it be neat to shake up the snack racks of corner stores all around the world at once?

Of course this discussion began with a simple package of mediocre chips/crisps. But I suspect there's more down the line. A global soft drink company?

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These potato chips, like most in Spain, are fried in olive oil. I don't find them to be heavy at all, rather incredibly satisfying!

Though I prefer those from a neighborhood "fabrica," I think the Lays brand is good--certainly much better than what is sold in the US. I liked that the flavors were very subtle. I'm interested to see what new flavors come out this year, but I'm not sure it's necessary to tamper with a product like potato chips too much...

Given the enthusiastic and accessible persona that Adria has cultivated here in Spain, I don't find it odd that he would lend his name and ideas to a snack product consumed by the masses. In fact, I think it would be great if he could find a way to mass-produce some of his other El Bulli "snacks" (mozzarella sferica please!).

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While in Spain I bought a book on Ferran Adria Cooking at Home.

I first saw Cooking at home with Ferran Adria and Caprabo on the bookshelves at Cata 1.81. I was rather confused at first because I thought it had a really 70s or 80s look to it - kind of washed out colours on the cover, Ferran looking morose wearing some kind of tweedy jacket and carrying a couple of supermarket plastic bags on the cover. It had the general look of those 'gourmet cooking with your moulinex' type of books my mum used to have when I was little. By the way, this isn't a criticism, I thought it looked cool.

Caprabo is a Catalan supermarket chain which, while not exactly (insert your own Wallmart-style reference here) is not exactly (insert your own Fortnum and Mason-style high-end grocers reference here). So I guess it's part of his bringing creative cooking to the masses. The idea, I think, is that you can use basic, easily available (ie at Caprabo) ingredients and, using relatively inventive and perhaps elaborate preparation and presentation techniques, produce something fancy and impressive out of them. Something which it seems is also done at El Bulli - ie though the ingredients are always the best of their kind they're not always necessarily expensive and/or rare and exclusive. It's what's done with them that's special. However, some of the 'recipes' are a bit 'duh'. Like take a bog standard take away pizza and jazz it up with fresh mozarella, basil, cherry toms and drizzles of olive oil. Sounds like the sort of thing you find in cooking for blokes who've had everything done for them all their lives by mothers/girlfriends and who've just been dumped and are trying to pull!

I also seem to remember reading a quote from Adria which basically implied he's not too terribly interested in these commercial ventures, especially things like the cookbook above, and they're basically fundraisers for the activities in El Bulli and the Taller. This was in reference to a question about whether there'd be another book/video along the lines of Adria's Easy Cooking videos and the cooking in 10 minutes book he did for El Corte Ingles.

For Pim's take on Cooking at Home with Ferran Adria go to http://tinyurl.com/9sjq4

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While in Spain I bought a book on Ferran Adria Cooking at Home.

I also seem to remember reading a quote from Adria which basically implied he's not too terribly interested in these commercial ventures, especially things like the cookbook above, and they're basically fundraisers for the activities in El Bulli and the Taller.

Similarly, couture houses underwite the inordinate cost of their collections with a higher volume ready to wear collection, handbags, perfumes and other licensing agreements. Although, I think their emphasis is generally on increasing the bottom line rather than supporting the couture passion.


Corinna Hardgrave aka "Corinna Dunne"

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I love the fact that Ferran did these chips - and the supermarket book. Yes, he thinks about food in a different dimension than the most brilliant of the many brilliant minds he works with, but I think it's great that he's fearless enough to brand everyday common accessible food.

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So long as the quality of the proucts is good, I think it is a good move. Willy-nilly endorsements would in the end cheapen his name and reflect poorly on him. Based upon my experience with his gazpacho and the book, I think he is doing well. Given my experience at El Bulli, I would be very surprised if he did not.


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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So long as the quality of the proucts is good, I think it is a good move. Willy-nilly endorsements would in the end cheapen his name and reflect poorly on him. Based upon my experience with his gazpacho and the book, I think he is doing well. Given my experience at El Bulli, I would be very surprised if he did not.

John, let's assume the chips are awful, yet you keep on seeing that every review about elBulli is great. Would you stop going (or trying to go) there?

Of course his brand looses if the product is bad, but in the end how does this affect what he really cares about?


We''ve opened Pazzta 920, a fresh pasta stall in the Boqueria Market. follow the thread here.

My blog, the Adventures of A Silly Disciple.

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So long as the quality of the proucts is good, I think it is a good move. Willy-nilly endorsements would in the end cheapen his name and reflect poorly on him. Based upon my experience with his gazpacho and the book, I think he is doing well. Given my experience at El Bulli, I would be very surprised if he did not.

John, let's assume the chips are awful, yet you keep on seeing that every review about elBulli is great. Would you stop going (or trying to go) there?

Of course his brand looses if the product is bad, but in the end how does this affect what he really cares about?

SD, This is a very good question. I would still keep trying to go to El Bulli and most likely continue to enjoy it , but if he were shilling any and every product in a clearly exploitive fashion I would probably lose a little respect for him and perhaps enjoy El Bulli just a little bit less. I have no problem with people making a buck with integrity, which is what I believe Ferran is doing. This question brings to mind the whole debate over Rick Bayless and his commercials for Burger King. That had connotations that this discussion doesn't have. Accusations of hypocrisy were leveled against Bayless because what he has always publicly stood for (i.e. locally grown, fresh quality produce) seemed to be diametically opposed to what he was then promoting. I don't see any such issue with Ferran and his promotions.


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 Ferrán is intelligent enough not to engage himself or elBulli's brand in an activity which could damage those. Not to mention his partner, Juli Soler.

However, we tend to interpret every move of geniuses looking for genius behaviour, when sometimes even geniuses make normal moves. So, if in this case it simply looks like they're trying to get some revenue, let's don't discard that option just because it's too simple.


PedroEspinosa (aka pedro)

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I would still keep trying to go to El Bulli and most likely continue to enjoy it , but if he were shilling any and every product in a clearly exploitive fashion I would probably lose a little respect for him and perhaps enjoy El Bulli just a little bit less.

I think from Adria's point of view, it's a simple equation. He does 8000 covers a year, who will be put through his latest culinary creations. As long as he has 8000 people willing to pay for it, what he likes to do is safe. Are you one of those 8000 people, and will you like food a bit less if he's a shill? Fine, but the question to me is more "does Adria care"? During our dinner at eB, I was surprised when I left half of one of the dishes untouched, no one asked me if something was wrong. This is indeed very strange for a 3-star.

But it points to the fact (at least in my opinion), that what Adria has done is build an infrastructure that allows him to do culinary research, and has done it so effectively that he doesn't have to care about what people think. You don't want to go to eB because he sells crappy chips? Fine, someone else will. Moreover, those chips probably give him the financial security to be even more daring in his research, since failures won't wreck neither elBulli or the Ferran Adria brand.

To me, he is pretty confident his contribution to the culinary body of knowledge (and quite possibly his net worth too) is worth some shilling. Actually I don't think he sees it as shilling, but rather a way to keep on doing what he does best. Despite what the rest of us might think.


We''ve opened Pazzta 920, a fresh pasta stall in the Boqueria Market. follow the thread here.

My blog, the Adventures of A Silly Disciple.

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While in Spain I bought a book on Ferran Adria Cooking at Home.

I first saw Cooking at home with Ferran Adria and Caprabo on the bookshelves at Cata 1.81.

I saw the same book when I was there! :laugh: I also thought it looked cheesy...hehe

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I would still keep trying to go to El Bulli and most likely continue to enjoy it , but if he were shilling any and every product in a clearly exploitive fashion I would probably lose a little respect for him and perhaps enjoy El Bulli just a little bit less.

I think from Adria's point of view, it's a simple equation. He does 8000 covers a year, who will be put through his latest culinary creations. As long as he has 8000 people willing to pay for it, what he likes to do is safe. Are you one of those 8000 people, and will you like food a bit less if he's a shill? Fine, but the question to me is more "does Adria care"? During our dinner at eB, I was surprised when I left half of one of the dishes untouched, no one asked me if something was wrong. This is indeed very strange for a 3-star.

But it points to the fact (at least in my opinion), that what Adria has done is build an infrastructure that allows him to do culinary research, and has done it so effectively that he doesn't have to care about what people think. You don't want to go to eB because he sells crappy chips? Fine, someone else will. Moreover, those chips probably give him the financial security to be even more daring in his research, since failures won't wreck neither elBulli or the Ferran Adria brand.

To me, he is pretty confident his contribution to the culinary body of knowledge (and quite possibly his net worth too) is worth some shilling. Actually I don't think he sees it as shilling, but rather a way to keep on doing what he does best. Despite what the rest of us might think.

If this enables him to continue doing what he is doing at El Bulli at the price he is doing it, power to him! if he is making money doing it and that is the reason he is doing it - fine. I would still like to think, though that he is doing it with integrity. I have no reason to think otherwise.


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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The last Adrià popular creation are the Núvols de tendresa ( clouds of tender) a coconut marshmallow with a pineaple aroma that are being sold at La Boquería and a few collect tables at the price of 5€ the 25 pieces pack. The benefits are for the alzheimer ills association.

Mor information here


Rogelio Enríquez aka "Rogelio"

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These potato chips, like most in Spain, are fried in olive oil. I don't find them to be heavy at all, rather incredibly satisfying!

Hi,

I think you are not right when saying that most potato chips in Spain are fried in olive oil. While I cannot speak for the produce of "churrerías", so typical in Madrid, I believe that about 90% of the industrial brands of potato chips sold in Spain are not fried in olive oil.

Actually, Lays faced a problem some time ago (january 2003) when they announced their "Mediterráneas" line of Lays potato chips with olive oil as a sales point. As a competitor pointed out, the chips were fried in other oil and olive oil (2% of the final product) was used to enhance the flavor. The product was retired and Lays introduced the current line of chips, which I love BTW.

P.

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