The Sorcerer's Apprentices
The Sorcerer's Apprentices
A Season in the Kitchen at Ferran Adria's elBulli
Free Press, Paperback, 9781451626629, 295pp.
Publication Date: February 7, 2012
WHAT GOES ON BEHIND THE SCENES AT ELBULLI?
Elected best restaurant in the world by "Restaurant "magazine an unprecedented five times, elBulli is where chef Ferran Adrià's remarkable cuisine comes to life with dragon cocktails that make the drinker breathe smoke and caviar made from tiny spheres of olive oil. elBulli is also the object of culinary pilgrimage millions clamor every year for a reservation at one of its tables.
Yet few people know that, behind each of the thirtyor more courses that make up a meal at elBulli, a small army of stagiaires apprentice chefs labor at the precise, exhausting work of executing Adrià's astonishing vision. In "The Sorcerer's Apprentices: A Season in the Kitchenat Ferran Adrià's elBulli, "Lisa Abend explores the remarkable system that Adria uses to run his restaurant and, in the process, train the next generation of culinary stars.
Granted more access to Adrià and the elBulli kitchen than any other writer in the restaurant's history, Abend follows thirty-five young men and women as they struggle to master the cutting-edge techniques, grueling hours, furious creativity, and interpersonal tensions that come with working at this celebrated institution. Her lively narrative captures a great cast, including a young Korean cook who camps on the doorstep of elBulli until he is allowed to work in the kitchen; an ambitious chef from one of Switzerland's top restaurants struggling to create his own artistic vision of cuisine; and an American couple whose relationship may not withstand the unique pressures of the restaurant. What emerges is an irresistible tale of aspiring young talents caught, for good or ill, in the opportunity of a lifetime.
Taken together, their stories form a portrait of the international team that helps make a meal at elBulli so memorable. They also reveal a FerranAdrià few ever see, one who is not only a genius chef and artist but also a boss, teacher, taskmaster, businessman, and sometimes- flawed human being. Today, food has become the focus of unprecedented attention, and "The Sorcerer's Apprentices "also explores the strange evolution in less than two decades of a once-maligned profession into a source of celebrity.
“A last glimpse inside the culinary magic.”
“Anyone interested in the very vanguard of creativity in any medium, aside from the ever-growing ranks of foodies and celebrity-chef watchers, is certain to be enchanted.”
—Booklist (starred review)