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5/08/2008

The Ferran Adrià & Santi Santamaria Brouhaha: A Personal Chronicle of the Strange Occurrences Leading Up to the Star Chefs Fight of the Century

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All photographs copyright by Gerry Dawes 2007
Publication without permission strictly prohibited.
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On the surface it all seemed innocent enough at Grupo Gourmets Salón Internacional de Gourmets at the Casa del Campo, Madrid in May, 2006 . . . .

Santi Santamaría seemed jovial.

The normally pensive and serious Ferran even seemed happy. . . . . .There was much alegría --or is often said, "musha, musha alegría"-- in the espuma, er, air. . . .

Hell, Santi and Ferran even seemed happy even though they were sitting together.


Arzak was amusing Bocuse, or trying to amuse Bocuse.

What a crew it was at the Salón de Gourmets Annual Gourmet Restaurant Awards that fine May day in 2006. . . . .as I said there was musha, alegría. . . . .musha

Santi, Bocuse, and Toño & José of Átrio, their superb restaurant in Cáceres, all got awards, mas musha alegría. . . .

. . . . . Santi stilled seemed jovial, José Polo seemed half-jovial, but Toño Pérez, José's partner in Átrio and in life, didn't seem jovial, maybe because José had his arm around Santi- -well, part of the way around Santi.

. . . . . Ferran got an award and Arzak got an award, each the size of a doorstop. Juan Mari then amused Grupo Gourmets Presidente Paco López Canís. . . . and the musha, musha alegría continued without pause, flowing like Torta del Casar (also from Cáceres) . . . . .

. . . . well, except maybe for Toño, whom Arzak provided some much needed amusement and way too much pacharán later on at Julián de Tolosa restaurant on Cava Baja. . . .but that's a story for another day, back to this one:

And then, and then, and then the trouble started on "Killer's Row. . . .

. . . . Santi, Ferran, Bocuse & Juan Mari were all seated together . . . . .Then Ferran whispers to Santi, "My espumas (foams), mango caviar, encapsulated 'olives' and olive oil drops and nitrogen cocktails are the work of a genius." What have you got to match that?


Ferran, now pensive again, lets that soak in. Santi is no longer jovial, he is also now pensive. . . .

"So, you think that unhealthy, additive-laced mierda you do is cooking, eh?


Then Santi leans to the right, smiles and says, "How about something really creative, say aromatheraphy. How do you like my hot, smoky espuma laced with the terroir of Montseny?"

Ferran, momentarily stunned, tries to steady himself.

Sacre bleu! Bocuse is incredulous!
Juan Mari, not into aromatherapy, is not amused and tries to protect his air supply.

Ferran, stunned and reeling, can't believe what just happened.

Ferran, contemplating a retort in his native Cartagena-inflected Catalan-Andaluz (guaranteed to piss Santi off since it is not pure Catalan), turns pensive again. . . .thinking, "Jodé, yo zoy genio y Santi no é. ¿Como es posible que el cabrón hizo esto antes de que me ha ocurrido a mi?". . . . ."F..k, I am a genius and Santi ain't. How is it possible that this cabrón did this before it occurred to me?"


Santi, once again jovial, enjoys a moment of musha, musha alegría.

Now, 800 chefs are pissed off at Santi, all over a little hot air!!

Fin de una triste historia.

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