If you like great food and love magical innovation, you will like the documentary elBulli, cooking in progress. It’s an in-depth look at the best restaurant in the world, the Catalonian elBulli. I saw this documentary at the IDFA festival in Amsterdam last year. It follows master chef Ferran Adrià in his quest for a new menu.
The restaurant closes every year for six months to completely renew the menu. With a small team they innovate all aspects of cooking. From ingredients and preparation methods to texture, taste and presentation. It’s incredible to see their process. With both structure and chaos. These six months produce beautiful and crazy dishes such as melon caviar, cold-hot/hot-cold essence of pine, frozen puffed-up cheesecake and vanilla chips.
The documentary is shown in a few places in the US, but hopefully it will come to a cinema near you. When it is released on DVD or online, I could not find. In the meanwhile, the trailer is finally out.
If you can’t wait to learn more about elBulli, you can order the book a day at elBulli. It’s a beautiful book highlighting one day at the restaurant. It features beautiful photography and background stories on the restaurant, its history and its crew as well as Adrià’s view on innovation. Great gift as well.
What the documentary does not tell is the sad fact that elBulli is closing down on July 30th. Their mission has been completed, the summit has been reached. But they will open again. From the press release:
elBulli will open again in 2014, constantly challenging the possibilities of the concept of a restaurant, based on the following criteria:a. Research will be prioritized over production.
b. Each season will be different in terms of opening dates and times, capacity of the restaurant in terms of diners, staff, etc.., going beyond the pursuit of innovation that elBulli has been undertaking ever since the decision was made, among other things, to open only for 6 months, offer only one sitting per day and cancel the standard menu.