Hanging out with Ferran Adria

Martin Kouprie, my chef sprocket hubby, spent time yesterday with molecular gastronomy guru Ferran Adria. In the morning they hung out at The Cookbook Store together while Feran signed copies of his book for an event held last night at the University of Toronto to promote Feran’s new book: A Day in the Life of El Bulli. Although Martin’s cooking is anything but high tech (he likes to say that he could have cooked as well in 1928 with the equipment and ingredients that were commonly available then as he does in his fancy schmancy restaurant kitchen) yet he found himself agreeing with Ferran Adria when he said “cooks need to learn how to taste before they learn how to cook.” I have to say that I agree as well. People with well developed palates know what will delight your taste buds. And, once you have that skill, it doesn’t matter if your tools are high tech or low tech. Great tasting ice cream can be made in a salt packed, hand turned ice cream maker or by using a canister of liquid nitrogen but only if the flavours are combined skillfully in the first place.

8 Responses to Hanging out with Ferran Adria

  1. I believe taste and technique are inseparable (providing you start with quality ingredients). Sure you have to know what flavours to combine, but you have to select the best means. Do you sprinkle the final dish with raw onions? Do you sweat them? Or do you caramelize them for the results you want?

    Usually, simple techniques preserve the flavours and let the food speak for itself. For me, using liquid nitrogen to make ice cream, or the over-the-top, table-side productions of Caesar salad / crepes Suzette showcases the server, not the food. Molecular gastronomy has always struck me as grand standing, the high-tech version of setting booze-soaked saganaki afire.

    I admit I do not understand the allure of molecular gastronomy. Is it spectacle, art or ego? I’d love to hear other people’s thoughts.

  2. danamccauley says:

    Save those thoughts for next week Charmian…I have a post in the works on the very topic you end on.

  3. Martin hello. I am truly envious that you are standing there with the greatest chef in the world. Ferran as you and every other foodie know is one of the faces that have changed the way we look at food today. So many people (including myself) have started to inject science into the kitchen. It is no mystery to most that science has always been there, we just needed to look harder. Science and food go beyond baking and everything we do has some chemical interaction. Metamorphesis isn’t just reserved for the butterflies. It is an ever changing and evolutionary process in what we do, and what we eat. Congrats to you for being close to the man who made this all possible. Cheers.

  4. Hélène says:

    I’m a fan of Ferran Adria. I’ll like to eat at El Bulli some day. That must have been a great day.

  5. I like Adria a lot, but not so much seeing his stuff everywhere. I like this crazy this he come up with, but then everybody copies it…

  6. Beth says:

    Although Martin’s experience sounds fun, this one sounds even better:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/12/fashion/sundaystyles/12ferran.html?pagewanted=2&ref=dining

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