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Debayser - its not a kangaroo court - it's a discussion of the values and implications of wholesale reproduction of other chefs dishes without attribution. That's what these forums are for - people are entitled to their opinions and may voice them freely.

He is a great chef and wouldn't do something so stupid.

He quite literally has done it. I am sure he is not stupid, a little foolish maybe...

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i think we've moved beyond lynching chef robin...now we are onto a discussion of, realistically, where we are going as an industry as a whole. the mention of salmon and sorrel was an apt analogy, as that (when the troisgros brothers chose to flaunt tradition by offering something so simply presented) was a time of transition for the industry, much as today is. in recent times we have seen the growth of intellectual property as a keystone of the postmodern culinary revolution; wylie dufresne has his shrimp noodles and gums, grant achatz has his black truffle explosion and wild service pieces, homaro cantu has his edible paper and aropmatic utensils.

my understanding of culinary history is limited; i have been a cook now for about six years; i have read books like california dish, by jeremiah tower; michael ruhlman's books, etc. i consider myself relatively well-versed in this field. It seems to me that the process of growth in our field has always been one of building upon the work of others. nowadays we have chefs who have been trained in classical and semi-classical tradition breaking away and defining new boundaries, refusing to be beholden to the precepts of yore.

(gettin a little dramatic here...sorry)

anyway, we have techniques which are being pioneered by chefs which will have a lasting impact on our industry. i can't say for sure where we will all be in ten or twenty years; i know there will always be a market for stuff like tacos al pastor and pizza and pasta primavera...will anyone, in twenty years' time be saying, darn, wish that vapor joint on the corner hadn't closed, where am i going to get my aromas now?

we see things like sous-vide, sodium alginate, liquid nitrogen, gums, transglutaminase, precision cooking (to tenths of a degree!) in immersion circulators, lasers, vapors, antennae, etc. we need to decide where to draw the line: everyone sautees fish, right? throw some orange peel in the pan, some butter...whatever. nothing new. cook the fish sousvide? hmmm...glue it to another piece of fish? ok, interesting...pureee it and make it into fish "caviars" with alginate? tres novelle...just don't use the same plateup and description as someone else.

i've experimented with activa. because of wd-50? yep. did i try shrimp noodles? yep, to understand how it works. when i do something with activa, am i going to credit wylie dufresne? no, unless i am grinding shrimp and setting it with activa. if i glue two pieces of beef together to create a ridiculously thick flank steak i'm not going to credit wylie because he didn't invent the enzyme, just paved the way. chefs and hardcore foodies will understand that anyone playing with transglutaminase is walking along the path that wylie presented for us, but that we have to make our own discoveries along the way. outright copying of what he has done is not something i would (i think!!!) want to waste my time on, unless it was as a stepping stone toward something new...

ok i'll sign off cuz i'm not making much sense...

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Actually Mike, I think you made a lot of sense. I think you captured the essesnce of the subtle differences of what is acceptable and what is not.

It is no longer Chef Robin that is being discussed (at least not by most), but the concepts involved. The situation from his restaurant merely provides what seems to be a clear example. Personally, I would prefer that neither his name nor that of any other individual come up again in this topic.

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The debate has reached the ears of the UK-based paper The Guardian.

An extract:

Either way, does it really matter whose idea it was to mix flour and water, add some vegetables and cook it on a hot stone? Can a recipe - as some of the world's top restaurateurs and food experts are now asking - ever be considered intellectual property?

An altogether more complex dish has prompted this debate on the online food forum, eGullet, this week. The recipe, in brief: prawns are pureed using an enzyme called transglutiminase, extruded into a noodle, cooked, and served with smoked yoghurt, paprika and nori. Not the sort of meal that two chefs separated by 10,355 miles are likely to invent at the same time.

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has his wild service pieces

just don't use the same plateup and description as someone else.

You make some good points Mike.

In doing so you also bring up something I've yet to touch on - and this is in no way a jab at anyone, I really want to know and I think it's relevent.

As to me it seems that plating has been one of the major issues here.

How is this particular subject going to be affected now that the Alinea service pieces in question are commercially available from Crucial Detail?

How many ways are there to plate on a squid and a bow or an antenna?

If you buy these things and use them are you automatically limited to the ingredients you can use?

Or are you simply copying by using one in the first place?

Or does that notion disappear because you bought it and the chef made it available for sale?

Edit: Also if things like the pictured Crate and Barrel candle holder (correct me if I'm wrong) are used by someone - does that make it off limits to others - or do they simply have to use different ingredients?


Edited by sizzleteeth (log)

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has his wild service pieces

just don't use the same plateup and description as someone else.

You make some good points Mike.

In doing so you also bring up something I've yet to touch on - and this is in no way a jab at anyone, I really want to know and I think it's relevent.

As to me it seems that plating has been one of the major issues here.

How is this particular subject going to be affected now that the Alinea service pieces in question are commercially available from Crucial Detail?

How many ways are there to plate on a squid and a bow or an antenna?

If you buy these things and use them are you automatically limited to the ingredients you can use?

Or are you simply copying by using one in the first place?

Or does that notion disappear because you bought it and the chef made it available for sale?

Edit: Also if things like the pictured Crate and Barrel candle holder (correct me if I'm wrong) are used by someone - does that make it off limits to others - or do they simply have to use different ingredients?

Nathan, I think this has been hounded to death. It seems pretty clear to me that the issue that has generally been found to be a problem is the direct copying of a dish including ingredients, serving pieces and plating style without attribution. I think all people are asking is a good faith effort to make a dish either one's own or to give reasonable credit if that is not possible. I don't believe anyone here has been disallowing the notion of influence on a cuisine, a recipe or a style. I say a good faith effort because simply putting a sprig of parsley on a different part of a plate that is essentially otherwise the same probably would not qualify as such. If a chef is going to use an unusual serving piece and does something to put his or her own stamp on it - great.

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Interesting Guardian article above.

In thinking about the situation a bit more, I'm coming to the position that the furore being stirred up about the Australian event is unwise, unfair and out of proportion to any harm done to anybody. Australia is, after all, on the other side of the world, and the opportunities for most residents there ever to try the interesting cookery going on in Spain, Chicago, the London suburbs, or the Lower East Side of Manhattan are pretty limited. Importing those techniques and executing those dishes is a service to that side of the world, and to gastronomy in general since the dishes do indeed spur interest in avant garde gastronomy. I think everybody reading this will agree that advancing interesting gastronomy is a good thing.

What possible harm could possibly have been done to anybody? Has Alinea, or WD-50 lost a significant number of customers due to this occurrence? Has anybody's reputation been damaged? Have any brand names lost any goodwill in their marketplace?

The harm being nominally evoked here is that "plagiarism" has been committed. In a kitchen, this is a nebulous victimless transgression that has been imported from academia into gastronomy. Academia is a different situation entirely, as its whole reason for existence is to produce novel thoughts that further explore the thoughts of earlier academics. In academia, plagiarism demolishes that goal by recirculating an old thought rather than creating new ones. Gastronomy is not about the constant progression from one dish to the next, but rather towards finding what dishes please the dining public at the moment. The applicability of the meme of plagiarism to cooking is, I think, suspect. Cooking has always been more consciously about replicating the successful dishes of others than requiring or striving for novelty in all things. Just look at the Ruhlman book's exploration of the Certified Master Chef test, which in large part appears to be a test of one's ability to memorize and reproduce Escoffier's recipes. If that is not an institutional endorsement of exact replication in gastronomy, then I don't know what is.

The harm really being evoked here, it seems to me, is lese majeste... a wound to the dignity of the chefs whose dishes have been replicated. That sort of harm is not one that the law, or our society anymore, views as compensable most of the time. This is essentially a case of bad manners... maybe.


Edited by cdh (log)

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This is essentially a case of bad manners... maybe.

And here I was thinking it was about ethics.

While each discipline needs to define the boundaries of plagiarism for itself, it is not correct to say it exists only in academia. The prohibition of plagiarism -- "to steal and pass off the ideas or words of another as one's own" (Merriam-Webster) -- is a fundamental ethical precept in most any creative discipline that takes itself seriously, be it literature (not just academic literature but also, of course, novels and journalism), art or music. Too many people are too hung up on intellectual property law issues and tangible harms, which, while interesting, are not relevant to the ethical transgression of plagiarism -- the theft of ideas and the fraudulent representation of those ideas as original.

Now, Chef Robin -- who seems hell bent on earning quotes around the word chef -- has told the Guardian: "At no time did I try and claim that I invented any of the dishes that I had experienced in the US and recreated at Interlude." It's hard to think of a more disingenuous characterization of the facts, and it's hard to think of a more reluctant apology than: "I guess I did something bad and have to pay the punishment - but it happens a lot more regularly than people realise."

Wylie Dufresne's statement is also unfortunate: "We all plagiarise all the time. All we can do is stand on the shoulders of the people before us. It's a grey area. None of us is completely innocent." This misunderstanding of plagiarism, which I thought we dealt with here upthread, equates the conduct of an artist inspired by other artists with the conduct of a thief. Inspiration is not plagiarism. Tricking people into calling all inspiration plagiarism is the oldest trick in the plagiarist's book of weaseling out of responsibility. And it is an insult to all the hard-working, honest chefs who try to create and be original to say "We all plagiarise all the time." I don't think Wylie Dufresne is a plagiarist in any way, shape or form, but even if he believes he plagiarizes "all the time" he should speak only for himself. Wylie Dufresne is a victim here, and his forgiveness is a testament to his generosity of spirit, but here he goes too far.

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Nathan, I think this has been hounded to death.

With all due respect Doc, you may classify what I'm doing as hounding - but in reality I am simply responding to things as they are brought to bear by others.

Granted - what I am saying is not pleasant - but it is not in anger.

We have chefs who are copying who do not want to be copied, who have people working for free in their restaurants where the very point of the trade off is to be able to take what you learn and use it.

We have chefs who are copying who do not want to be copied who are offering for sale items that encourage you to copy them.

I feel a position has to be chosen.

We have chefs who say that they are "creating at a more efficient pace than the commercial food industry" whom are raising their fists in the air and saying "it's time to start thinking like them" - "it's time to take back what is ours".

My position is that no chef has "their" gums - they have gums like transglutaminase and all the others that were invented by companies to do exactly what they are being used to do - no one is "using transglutaminase as a meat glue"..... transglutaminase IS a meat glue that was designed to take meat that has been taken apart in any number of ways and put it back together - that's how they make whole boneless fish and all the other products mentioned at the bottom of that page.

No chef has "their" edible paper unless they made the edible paper themselves and no chef can be given credit for inventing printing edible images on edible paper - because that existed long ago.

Chefs, at one time or another CREATED what they lay claim to - they didn't buy it off the internet. If no one can ever fucking make "shrimp noodles" with a commercially available product for doing such a thing then everyone who makes noodles out of flour and water is a thief.

This is not about "Social Entrepreneurship" - this is not about helping people out in the industry - this is about I DID THIS FIRST LOOK AT ME - this is about FAME, one only need read an old article in New City to know this too be true.

I think the term "in the world" is used way too loosely and I personally would not be sorry if I never saw it again - because frankly - and pardon my "French" - the world is a big motherfucker - with lots and lots and lots of extremely smart people doing fabulous things.

Someone earlier mentioned an Achilles heel, which together with being dramatic makes me think of Achilles himself and him speaking to his men at the battle of Troy:

"Myrmidons!*** My brothers of the sword! I would rather fight beside you than any army of thousands! Let no man forget how menacing we are, we are lions! Do you know what's waiting in that restau.... I mean, beyond that beach? Immortality! Take it! It's yours! "

Achilles could not be knocked off his high horse... because he was hiding inside it and burned Troy to the ground.

I personally think it's a fitting irony - that Achilles is most famous for his weakness.

Afterall - "he did it to himself".

So no more hounding my man - if what I have to say is not a welcome vantage point - if the people that brought this entire issue to light are allowed to defend themselves but we are not allowed to contradict them - then you will hear not another peep from me.


Edited by sizzleteeth (log)

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This is essentially a case of bad manners... maybe.

And here I was thinking it was about ethics.

I'm a pragmatist. If there is no victim, and no harm, it doesn't matter how many ethical angels can dance on the head of a pin.

The overuse and misuse of the term plagiarize in this discussion just underscores my contention that it doesn't belong or fit in the kitchen.

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What possible harm could possibly have been done to anybody?  Has Alinea, or WD-50 lost a significant number of customers due to this occurrence?  Has anybody's reputation been damaged?  Have any brand names lost any goodwill in their marketplace?

What harm? Well, how about that sickening feeling in the pit of your stomach when you see your creativity being palmed off by someone else as their own. And them profiting from it? That feeling of having been in some way violated. It's really not nice.

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The Guardian's code of ethics is much less equivocal on this point than the article it ran on the subject:

"Plagiarism. Staff must not reproduce other people’s material without attribution. The source of published material obtained from another organisation should be acknowledged including quotes taken from other newspaper articles. Bylines should be carried only on material that is substantially the work of the bylined journalist."

http://image.guardian.co.uk/sys-files/Guar...25/code2005.pdf

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I think that the presumed ethical equivalence of cooking and writing is mistaken. Writers are accustomed to having property rights and consequent powers to exclude. There is no property right in cooking a dish, and never has been.

Looking at a cooking situation through a writer's lens brings up writerly codes of ethics and presumptions. Why do they necessarily apply?

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Looking at a cooking situation through a writer's lens brings up writerly codes of ethics and presumptions.  Why do they necessarily apply?

We've heard from chefs. For example, Richard Blais:

Taking someones dish, every detail, and presenting it in the exact same way sounds unbelievable to me. I haven't seen these pics, but it sounds as if they are exactly the same. If that is the case, with no credit, it's messed up.

And we've heard from restaurateurs. For example, Nick Kokonas:

In this case, numerous dishes were copied more or less verbatim from several US restaurants.  There were only pictures of a few (and there are 3 more pictured examples not shown here), but others were described identically -- 17 in all that I counted.  And the intent was clearly to show these completed ideas as his own.... for enjoyment, profit, and the accolades from the press.  Seeing how hard Chef G and the team at Alinea work to create these produced a very visceral response from me personally.

Again, plagiarism is a concept in ethics that applies to all creative endeavors. It's not limited to academia, nor is it limited to the written word.


Edited by Fat Guy (log)

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if the harm isn't felt or acknowledged by you it's not happening, eh? same as your contention that plagerism happens only in non-fiction. utter nonsense.

you may not understand or care about cultural currency, but it is out there in music art and fashion. people involved in these areas are respected and rewarded for innovation, so it matters very much (to both the fans and artists) who did what, how- and who did it first.

you maybe comfortable buying music or food from a hack- a total copyist- but many creative people - or big food or music fans will not, and for good reasons.

this will be robins only punishment- he will actually have to do the hard labor to create his own dishes and earn respect for his own work- or try to find an audience of people who don't know- or like yourself care- that the food is a clone. he'll do fine, disneyworld does fine too. doesn't mean we are obligated to say nice things about disney, does it?

just because it's not something you can't measure or judge in your court of law doesn't mean it's insignificant. It's the very lifeblood of these segments of culture, of course has value, and it matters greatly to those involved in the creative process.

This is essentially a case of bad manners... maybe.

And here I was thinking it was about ethics.

I'm a pragmatist. If there is no victim, and no harm, it doesn't matter how many ethical angels can dance on the head of a pin.

The overuse and misuse of the term plagiarize in this discussion just underscores my contention that it doesn't belong or fit in the kitchen.

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if the harm isn't felt or acknowledged by you it's not happening, eh? same as your contention that plagerism happens only in non-fiction.  utter nonsense.

you may not understand or care about cultural currency, but it is out there in music art and fashion.

Interestingly to me, Slate ran an article recently about how the fashion world is coming to terms with this issue. As with cooking, you can't just cut and paste the rules from literature, scholarship or for that matter music into these fields because (in my opinion) the nature of the product is so different. That doesn't mean no rules can apply.

As for the argument about "no harm no foul"-- this comes up all the time in every kind of discussion about copying and it's usually obviously ungrounded.

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Too many people are too hung up on intellectual property law issues and tangible harms, which, while interesting, are not relevant to the ethical transgression of plagiarism -- the theft of ideas and the fraudulent representation of those ideas as original.

Fat Guy nails it again.

(Of course, he's stealing it all from his dad.) (Just kidding.)

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And it is an insult to all the hard-working, honest chefs who try to create and be original to say "We all plagiarise all the time." I don't think Wylie Dufresne is a plagiarist in any way, shape or form, but even if he believes he plagiarizes "all the time" he should speak only for himself. Wylie Dufresne is a victim here, and his forgiveness is a testament to his generosity of spirit, but here he goes too far.

On the contrary - Wylie - I applaud and appreciate your admittance that you are not innocent and that you did not invent enzyme noodles - though you may have been the first to make them with prawns and that your noodles can be traced back to The Fat Duck.

edited to remove the reference to the song "Good Morning Captain" and any reference to hounds and add a reference to ducks.


Edited by sizzleteeth (log)

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Nathan, for the record, I don't think you're hounding. I do, however, think you're failing to see the forest for the trees. It's not plagiarism to say "you're failing to see the forest for the trees." It's just use of common language. Now if I wrote "But it is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation" without attributing Melville...

I agree that Wylie is being honest. But I also think he's wrong (you too): he's buying into the nihilist notion that all inspiration is plagiarism. It isn't. Certainly, there are gray areas. Certainly, proving a case of culinary plagiarism is quite difficult. That's why the egregious acts described herein above are so important: they establish such a clear case that we can set the red herring of gray areas aside for the moment and focus on the important issues. Maybe someone else will do something that falls into a gray area. That's not what happened here. I also wonder if Wylie, Grant, et al., will continue to be so forgiving in light of the private apologies they received now that the apologist is telling newspapers "At no time did I try and claim that I invented any of the dishes that I had experienced in the US and recreated at Interlude."

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Nathan, for the record, I don't think you're hounding. I do, however, think you're failing to see the forest for the trees. It's not plagiarism to say "you're failing to see the forest for the trees." It's just use of common language. Now if I wrote "But it is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation" without attributing Melville...

I agree that Wylie is being honest. But I also think he's wrong (you too).

Love you Fat Guy - I mean no ill will towards you - nor do I take any from you.

We just disagree.

I'm not looking at the forest, I'm not even looking at the trees. I'm going much deeper than that and looking at the leaves on the trees in the forest. Because those elements are what make up both tree and forest. And any and all are free to think I'm wrong and disagree, it doesn't make me wrong nor does it make me angry. And it doesn't make what I'm saying (or what you're saying) any less relevent.

It simply puts us at opposite ends of an argument and different levels of scrutiny - both of which exist outside and inside this forum.

Which adds to the balance of things.

:wink:


Edited by sizzleteeth (log)

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There seem to be gray areas all over the place. I'm actually surprised no one has brought this up...

Now I'm not trying to call anyone out here but it does illustrate the point that with this type of cuisine it will get harder and harder over time to distinguish between inspiration and copying. For the record, I do not think Venue is guilty of anything here. Although the serving piece is the same as one used at Alinea, and discussed up-thread, the contents look different enough to avoid any charge of impropriety. This can go on and on and on...


Edited by jesteinf (log)

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tks for the article, tess. there is a bit of overlap in the issues w/ food and fashion because the product involved is also one that can be very basic and necesary for survival (lamb shank, sheepskin) and require no creativity at all.. or it can be the product of a marriage of absolutely cutting edge technology and a briliant creative mind and represent the height of contemporary culture. and representing that height does result in prestige that will produce profits and sattelite business opportunities- more profitable than the original business. i see big opportunity for harm/ foul mucking that up when profits are based on innovation and someone's ripping you off.

it's facinating to me that people here refuse to make distinctions between the basic and the artful. creatives certainly have a disadvantage compared to the technical creators of this non-fiction in that non-creatives (say patent lawyers, judges) have a hard time quantifying their work, or assigning it value. if you can't break it down to a brand new scientific formula- then the business community is not apt to give you the patent, or much credit.

there's always been a bit of distain coming from money men towards artists- it's not real work, you'd do it for love anyway, why pay for your new project development when i can steal that idea over there? the internet has made this theft faster and easier, and more common. hence the "everyone does it" "we are all guilty" nonsense.

no, we do not and are not. that's the dodge of the guilty, who should only speak for themselves.

it seems this has become such a common attitude- whatever you can get away with is okay- my fear is that too few want to be bothered with ethics these days.

you may not understand or care about cultural currency, but it is out there in music art and fashion.

Interestingly to me, Slate ran an article recently about how the fashion world is coming to terms with this issue. As with cooking, you can't just cut and paste the rules from literature, scholarship or for that matter music into these fields because (in my opinion) the nature of the product is so different. That doesn't mean no rules can apply.

As for the argument about "no harm no foul"-- this comes up all the time in every kind of discussion about copying and it's usually obviously ungrounded.

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i'm not seeing grey at all- it's a completely differnt recipe. there's no smoking ANYTHING in the pipe. we are not talking about using just the same utensils, but ingredients, methods, plating and garnishes as well as menu descriptions. that's fairly black and white. it's not something as someone claimed above that someone can do without knowledge or intent, in fact it takes planning.

there's a slipperly slope, but this place, with 2/3 (quite possibly more) of its menu taken and copied exactly from others- is not on it, they are rock bottom.

of course a million grey areas can be cited, but i don't think that was the point at all.

There seem to be gray areas all over the place.  I'm actually surprised no one has brought this up...

Now I'm not trying to call anyone out here but it does illustrate the point that with this type of cuisine it will get harder and harder over time to distinguish between inspiration and copying.  For the record, I do not think Venue is guilty of anything here.  Although the serving piece is the same as one used at Alinea, and discussed up-thread, the contents look different enough to avoid any charge of impropriety.  This can go on and on and on...

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I know. I'm just saying when I first saw the pics I said to myself, "Hm, that looks familiar". After spending more time on it, I was completely satisfied that what I was looking at was evolution/inspiration and nothing more. My only point is that this type of cuisine brings up some interesting questions/discussions, much like this one. Kind of a bonus over the food actually tasting good. :wink:

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      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.
    • By docsconz
      About Jose Andres
       
      Throughout his career, Jose’s vision and imaginative creations have drawn the praise of the public, the press and his peers. José has received awards and recognition from Food Arts, Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, Saveur, the James Beard Foundation, Wine Spectator, and Wine Advocate. In addition, José has been featured in leading food magazines such as Gourmet as well as the New York Times, the Washington Post, Good Morning America, Fox Sunday Morning News with Chris Wallace, the Food Network, and USA Today.
       
      Widely acknowledged as the premiere Spanish chef cooking in America, José is a developer and Conference Chairman for the upcoming Worlds of Flavor Conference on Spain and the World Table at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, November 2 – 5, 2006.
       
      In 1993, Jose moved to Washington, DC, to head the kitchen at Jaleo. From there, Jose took on executive chef responsibilities at neighboring Café Atlantico and later Zaytinya. In July of 2003, Jose embarked on his most adventurous project to date with the opening of the minibar by jose andres at Cafe Atlantico. A six-seat restaurant within a restaurant, minibar by jose andres continues to attract international attention with its innovative tasting menu. In the fall of 2004, Jose opened a third Jaleo and Oyamel, an authentic Mexican small plates restaurant and launched the THINKfoodTANK, an institution devoted to the research and development of ideas about food, all with a view toward their practical applications in the kitchen.
       
      Every week, millions of Spaniards invite Jose into their home where he is the host and producer of “Vamos a cocinar”, a food program on Television Española (TVE), Spanish national television. The program airs in the United States and Latin America on TVE Internacional.
       
      Jose released his first cookbook this year, first published in English, Tapas: A Taste of Spain in America (published in the United States by Clarkson Potter) and shortly after in Spanish, Los fogones de José Andrés (published by Planeta). The book is an homage to Spanish cooking and to tapas, one of Spain's gifts to the world of good cooking.
       
      Jose Andres is passionate, intelligent, dedicated, witty and a fan of FC Barcelona.
       
      Jose has been a member of the eGullet Society since 2004.
       
      More on Jose Andres in the eG Forums:
      Cooking with "Tapas" by Jose Andres
      Vamos a Cocinar - cooking show with Jose Andres
      Jaleo
      José Andrés' Minibar
      Zaytinya
      Oyamel Cocina Mexicana, Crystal City
      Cafe Atlantico
       
      Jose Andres recipes from Tapas in RecipeGullet:
      Potatoes Rioja-Style with Chorizo (Patatas a la Riojana)
      Moorish-Style Chickpea and Spinach Stew
      Squid with Caramelized Onions
    • By gibbs
      With Modernist Cuisine I waited a couple of years and ended up with a copy from the 6th printing run the advantage of this was that all errors picked up in the erratta had been corrected in the print copy.  I am looking to get modernist bread soon and wondered if someone had purchased it recently to check or if someone knew of hand if they have printed any additional corrected runs 
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