AF-P Relaxnews - 2011-10-14
It's a far cry from the exploding spherical olives and spring-like coils of caramel virgin olive oil that came out of his now shuttered El Bulli kitchen. But culinary pioneer Ferran Adrià is hoping his new cookbook will help him reconnect with the average eater of modest means and even less time: the home cook.
In his latest book,The Family Meal: Home Cooking with Ferran Adrià, dishes are inspired by staff meals prepared at El Bulli which was named the World's Best Restaurant five times by Restaurant magazine, drew epicurean pilgrimages from foodies around the world, and received two million reservation requests for its 8,000 seats available every year.
Unlike El Bulli dishes that required the fusion of science, state-of-the-art cooking tools and a gastronomic dictionary, recipes in The Family Meal are easy, familiar and approachable. Dishes include cheeseburger and potato crisps, roast chicken with potato straws, Mexican-style slow-cooked pork and baked apples with whipped cream -- à la Adrià, of course.
In a promotional interview, Adrià says the inspiration behind the book was the staff meals eaten at the restaurant. "The Family Meal was born out of the need to explain what the staff at El Bulli eat," he said. "Everybody knows we cook but they don't know what we eat. I kept asking around and I realized nobody knew."
Every day at 6 pm, the El Bulli kitchen brigade would stop what they were doing to sit down to a ritualistic three-course dinner where, unlike many restaurants, staff meals were prepared with care. In an episode of travel food show No Reservations, host Anthony Bourdain sat down to a staff meal before the restaurant closed and marveled at how well everyone ate given that many staff meals in restuarants around the world are nothing more than an afterthought of kitchen scraps.
Adrià, however, says being able to feed his staff good meals on a budget was a matter of pride. "We are in a marvelous place, to which people come from all over the world to eat and we can't eat the best food within a budget? It was a matter of pride in the end!"
Meanwhile, the book features 31 menus of three-course meals -- appetizers, mains and desserts -- with recipe conversions for 2, 6, 20 and 75 people.
The Family Meal releases October 3 by publisher Phaidon and retails for $29.95 (€22).