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Food Arts Silver Spoon Award to Gerry Dawes


 Premio Nacional de Gastronomía - - James Beard Foundation Nomination (Best Wine Writing)
Premio Periodistíco Cava

Gerry Dawes's Article Medieval Riches of El Cid's City (About Burgos, Spain)
Front Page, The New York Times Sunday Travel Section

 About Blog Author Gerry Dawes, Premio Nacional de Gastronomía (National Gastronomy Award)




10/16/2010

Ferran: The Inside Story of El Bulli and the Man Who Reinvented Food by Colman Andrews, a book review

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Ferran Adrià  and Tim Zagat at the book launch at the International Culinary Center in NYC on Oct. 12, 2010.   Photo by Gerry Dawes©2010.

Ferran: The Inside Story of El Bulli and the Man Who Reinvented Food by Colman Andrews, a book review excerpted from my article on Ferran Adrià in the October issue of Food Arts. 

(All photographs by Gerry Dawes copyright 2010.)


Colman Andrews, author ofFerran: The Inside Story of El Bulli and the Man Who Reinvented Food.   Photo by Gerry Dawes©2010.

"Colman Andrews first began thinking about writing a book about Ferran Adrià at the historic Culinary Institute at Greystone's "Spain and the World Table," conference in November, 2006. At that conference there was a particular poignant moment that was the climax of what Andrew's calls "a hugely ambitious, highly successful . . . program," when The French Laundry's Thomas Keller introduced Ferran Adríà to tumultuous applause. 

Thomas Keller at the Culinary Institute of America - Greystone
during his introduction of Ferran and the Spanish chefs during
the 2006 Worlds of Flavor Conference dedicated to Spain.
Photo by Gerry Dawes©2010.

Ferran Adríà and the all-star lineup of Spanish chefs 
at the CIA Worlds of Flavor Conference 2006. 
Photo by Gerry Dawes©2010.

Coming after the 2003 The New York Times Sunday Magazine article, Arthur Lubow article that posed the question, "Is Spain the New France?", the French-trained, Francophile Keller's introduction was something very much like the passing of the torch to Spain and to Adrià, who for nearly a decade now has been called "the world's greatest chef" and his restaurant, elbulli, "the world's greatest restaurant." That moment at the CIA-Greystone well may have been the greatest event in Spain's long culinary history.


Ferran Adrià and Arthur Lubow at the book launch 
at International Culinary Center in New York. 
Photo by Gerry Dawes©2010.

Andrews-with the help of elBulli (the official name of the restaurant) alumni, Ferran Adrià confidant and chef-restaurateur José Andrés "kept after" Ferran for nearly a year. At one point, Andrés told Andrews, "If he thinks this is my idea or your idea, he will maybe not be so eager to say yes. He has to think it is his idea." They both persisted until Ferran told Andrews, "the next time you are Barcelona, we'll talk." Andrews quickly booked a flight to Barcelona, where he long felt at home since he spent a lot of time there two decades ago writing his seminal book on the food of Catalunya, Catalan Cuisine: Europe's Last Great Culinary Secret (Atheneum, 1988).



Ferran Adrià at Inopia. 
Photo by Gerry Dawes©2010.


Andrews managed to pin Ferran down over dinner at Inopia, Ferran's brother Albert's happening tapas bar (he just sold it; see accompanying article). At the end of a meal that featured traditional Spanish tapas-white asparagus , five kinds of olives, jamón Ibérico from Salamanca, esquiexada (Catalan shredded raw salt cod salad), fried artichokes, fried boquerones (anchovies), pa amb tomaquet (Catalan grilled bred rubbed with tomato and garlic) and small grilled shrimp, washed down with a crisp Catalan white wine, Andrews asks himself about whether he had the green light to do this book, "Was this (Ferran's) capitulation?"



Boquerones en vinagre with olives and raf tomatoes, Inopia.
Photo by Gerry Dawes©2010.

All those who needed a book on Ferran-I am one of them, even though I have known him for nearly fifteen years-that tells you everything you need to know, but were always afraid to ask, about the man, his restaurant, his dimension-bursting food, his partner Juli Soler and the truth and mythology that surrounds elBulli, this fine, eminently readable treatment is a blessing. Colman Andrews has done a brilliant job with this nearly 300-page book, despite what the misguided review in The New York Times claimed.


Ferran Adrià at the International Culinary Center in NYC on Oct. 12, 2010.     
Photo by Gerry Dawes©2010.

Readers will come away from Ferran: The Inside Story of El Bulli and the Man Who Reinvented Food with an infinitely greater understanding of the "world's greatest chef," who indeed reinvented (and continues to reinvent) food in the 21st Century. The only negative in the American edition is that there are no photographs; the European edition apparently has them." 
 


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