Monday, 13 October 2008 by Hock
We ended our ten day stay in NYC, by attending an intimate chat with Ferran Adrià. A perfect end to a great food focused week including a day spent experimenting with Alex and Aki and a dinner stuffing our faces at WD-50 (more to come on both of those experiences).
So It was so very sweet of Maytel and Ms Q to indulge me in a nearly two hour inspirational talk held at the New York Public Library in honour of Ferran and his new book. I had said if it was boring that we could just slip out and head for eats earlier than planned.
No slipping needed.
Both Maytel and Ms Q loved it and were both left truly inspired, for me I know a lot about this this man and had heard much of what he had spoken of before from the Joël Robuchon story, and that he and a few others (see chefs statement or Manifesto under Heston Blumenthal) were willing to except the term Molecular gastronomy but not Molecular Cooking.
Maytel loved the comments he made about bread, that bread is just as scientific as cooking with liquid nitrogen but no one calls it "scientific bread". Ferran continued to push the point that El Bulli is a kitchen and not a laboratory as is often believed and one myth that clearly the moderator (slow food guy) wanted to maintain. He stressed that there are no scientists in the kitchen, just passionate chefs that are dedicated to their discipline. I also loved that what Ferran emphasised is the importance of cross-disciplinary dialogue, between not only chemists but architects and engineers. Nonetheless while people ahhh and ohhh over smashed fruit pulled from liquid nitrogen and other equally cool techniques. I was personally inspired or reassured that he was just a chef. A chef who has run with every opportunity that has crossed his path.
I loved that he was nervous to start and then the passion of what he does just over took him. Ignoring stupid questions from fellow panellist (except those of course from Super Nerd Harold McGee -he could have held his own talk by the way). Ferran quietly spoke of his interests and seemed to glow like a proud Dad when pictures of his latest creations emerged upon the large screen, and that most importantly he likes Katz's pastrami sandwiches just like me.
In a few days with any luck there should be an audio or hopefully a video cast available here (unfortunately I don't think you can rss this page) but checking back here in the next few weeks should allow you to find a wealth of interesting food discussions during the Restaurant Month at the NYCPL. With talks from Grant Achatz and possibly my favourite topic for a talk ever "A Farewell to Quenelles".