El Bulli - Cooking in Progress

Gereon Wetzel, Germany, 2010, color, 35mm, 108'

The chefs at the world-renowned, Michelin-starred Spanish restaurant El Bulli have turned cooking into an art form. The doors are only open to the public for six months of the year; the rest of the time, a select team of experts is hard at work creating a new avant-garde 30-course menu. Looking on from the sidelines, we watch experiments with structure, sound, color and - finally - flavor. Cooking with liquid nitrogen, something the restaurant is particularly famous for, is but one of the many unconventional preparation methods used here. Owner Ferran AdriĆ  is always on hand, tasting everything created in this flavor lab and coming across like a softened-down version of Gordon Ramsey. We discover that experimental dishes such as Parmesan Crystal and Vanishing Ravioli came about largely by chance. When one of the chefs fished out an ice cube from his Coke glass and dropped it in the gravy on his plate, he thought, why not make a dish from ice cubes? And why not mix oil with water, for a cocktail that leaves a deliciously soft coating on the lips? At El Bulli, it's all about feeling something, experiencing something. In the words of top chef AdriĆ , "The more bewilderment, the better."

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