The evening with elBulli

As previously mentioned last night, I had the honour of sharing, with probably fifteen hundred other people, the evening listening to Ferran Adria. Organised by Jay Rayner, and held at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on southbank in London, we all listened in awe at him sharing his experiences creating new and exciting gastronomic delights for the two million people who wish they could enjoy it, yet in reality only able to serve a few very lucky thousand each year.

Last evening’s format flowed smoothly with the majority of the time spent with Adria sharing his vision and how he’s managed to accomplish this by inventing new techniques. I doubt anyone can deny that he achieved his ambition, especially the way he talked about creating new languages, new characters and new words that are being used more and more frequently.

It wasn’t just him talking all night as well, with several audio visual clips prepared to demonstrate exactly how some of his techniques work, and the wide variety of unusual applications they have. From all the readings that I’ve done, most writers make it out to be like a laboratory when in fact it’s almost the complete opposite, being experimentation the way you’d imagine other chefs doing things, simply substituting gels, foams, and the visually spectacular liquod nitrogren where others would use boiling, frying or grilling.

At the end, Jay also opened the floor for questions and I couldn’t help but giggle a little at the veracity that some people had of raising they’re hands. As Jay best put it, “Give the microphone to that person that looks like they will die if they don’t get to ask their question.”

I thought the evening was great. Adria surprised me by how humble he comes across, and like all great pioneers, cares more about sharing his techniques with others so that they can push the benhmark even higher. He’s funny, definitely talkative, and obviously still passionate about the things that he does and you just have to respect someone with all those qualities.