Master, Mentor, Magician?...


I was truly humbled and amazed to be a part of, and witness something so enlightening, exciting and professionally honorable last weekend in Seattle. And, to have not only met the gentleman, but to have actually held a conversation with him(through his interpreter mind you) was nothing short of incredible. So to score a personal photo op with him was over the top. Enter Ferran Adria! For most, we know him as the chef extraordinaire and maestro who lead the Michelin starred machine known as elBulli in Spain. The man who paved the way for the avant garde cooking we see today in the most modernist of restaurants, only he created it a handful of years before it came to the mainstream. The genius who elevated the use of the whip cream chargers to produce the most obscure of foams(think sea urchin and cinnamon bark or smoked tobacco with espresso and hazelnuts). The mad scientist who along with consultation of other MIT's crafted and perfected such wizardry as hot and cold gels, thermal reversible concoctions, thickeners, emulsifiers and liquid nitrogen frozen whatever's. But perhaps to others, those less in the know, he is merely a  fancy cook. One hell of a creative and inspirational cook at that! Listening to him talk about the need to search for one's creativity, the contemplation of what is an ingredient, the philosophies about what if and why not, the creation and the life of the world class restaurant elBulli and the future of the foundation in which to teach, mentor and provide in-depth information and education for the entire world was simply fascinating. Overwhelmingly inspiring. As I sat for 2-plus hours and listened to him speak about the concept of instead of spending 90% of your time working and 10% researching and learning, only progressing so far, to reversing that to 90% in research and 10% in the work. Imagine the level of growth, knowledge and creativity that would offer. Our outreach, progress and development would be of astronomical proportions. Chef Adria and his brother Albert, with the help of his rock solid team, botanists, scientists, nutritionists, chemists and god knows who else have truly done for this profession and craft in the latter part of the 20th and the turn of the 21st centuries what Escoffier, Larousse, Brillat-Savarin and Careme did for the turn of the one prior to that. His mission is to document, analyze and record each and every step and procedure for each recipe so that we as a global community have a starting reference point as well as a direction for the future and beyond. Brilliance at it's best. As I reflect, I walked away with even a greater sense of passion, respect, inspiration, desire and commitment to in some small humbling way offer my contribution to this generation and beyond. Thank you chef. May I ever be so lucky.


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