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A Day at elBulli Paperback – June 16, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Phaidon Press; Reprint edition (June 16, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0714856746
  • ISBN-13: 978-0714856742
  • Product Dimensions: 11.3 x 8.5 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #691,926 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Book Description
A Day at elBulli: An Insight into the Ideas, Methods and Creativity of Ferran Adria reveals for the first time the creative process, innovative philosophy and extraordinary techniques of the multi-award-winning restaurant, elBulli, and its legendary head chef, Ferran Adria. Situated on a remote beach on the northeast coast of Spain, elBulli is famous for being the ultimate pilgrimage site for foodies, and a reservation that is nearly impossible to obtain. Each year elBulli is open for just six months, and receives more than 2 million requests for only 8,000 seats. Renowned for his spectacular ever-changing 30-course tasting menu, Adria's pioneering culinary techniques have been applauded - and imitated - by top chefs around the globe for the past decade, and he was named one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people of our time.

If you weren't one of the lucky few to get in this year (2008 reservations were booked a year in advance), you can now experience the restaurant like never before. This generously-illustrated 600-page ''day in the life'' features over 800 photographs, menus, recipes and diagrams, and presents a guided tour through a full working day at elBulli. The book documents the activities of each hour of the day, from dawn at 6.15 am to switching off the lights at 2.00 am.

The book highlights 30 dishes which represent a full elBulli menu, and Adria shows you how he creates the restaurant's innovative cuisines. Sample recipes include Samphire Tempura with Saffron and Oyster Cream, Steamed Brioche with Rose-Scented Mozzarella, and Coulant/Souffle of Granadilla with Cardamom Toffee.

In April 2008, elBulli won the #1 Best Restaurant in the World, for the third year in a row at the S. Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurant Awards.

A Look Inside A Day at elBulli
(Click on Images to Enlarge)






08:30 elBulli Restaurant Terrace

14:35 The rest of the kitchen team arrives.

16:45 Making an olive oil cylinder from a special caramel made with olive oil and Isomalt

20:00 Chefs make cocktails: a tray of Margarita frappé with a salt air served in a cube of ice

Cigala con quinoa (Langoustine with quinoa)

23:15 The pace slows down as act three approaches



Amazon Exclusive: A Recipe Excerpt from A Day at elBulli


Marshmallow de piñones (Pine nut marshmallows)

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

An enormous undertaking, this monumental tome, complete with more than 1,000 photographs, chronicles one day at revolutionary eatery elBulli in northern Spain, arguably one of today's most influential restaurants. Adria, the culinary genius behind this success, along with restaurant manager Soler and brother and fellow chef Albert give the reader a firsthand look at day-to-day activities and the innovation for which elBulli is known. Lavish photographs are the main attraction in this work; text is sparse and offers only glimpses into activities. While there is an examination of the team's creative methods, most topics are only touched upon briefly, such as creative sessions, testing and utilizing a mental palate. Given the highly technical nature of the dishes served at elBulli, recipes (Pine Nut Marshmallows; Steamed Brioche with Rose-scented Mozzarella) are rare. A glance behind the scenes at a pivotal time and place in culinary evolution, this book will delight serious foodies, and its stunning package guarantees it will grace many a coffee table. (Oct.) --Publishers Weekly --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Jackal on November 16, 2010
Format: Paperback
I would not consider this a cookbook. The bulk of the book consists of pictures and some text. I would say this is an interesting book about creativity. It shows how the creative process works in one world-class, very innovative restaurant. This is an interesting read/reflection if you are interested in creativity in general.

You do get a sample of recipes. Given the price of the other El Bulli books, it might not even be a bad deal if you just want some of Adria's recipes. Still the recipes are mainly included to show the outcome of the creative process.

This book does not really cover the different methods/machines used in molecular gastronomy. If you want to understand the methods used, I would recommend starting with Blumenthal's The Fat Duck Cookbook and reading a few blogs. Two good things with the Blumenthal book is that it has a section on methods/machines. Then you can get Adria's chronological description of his creations over the years, for instance start with El Bulli 2003-2004. I'm sure there will be more practical books geared towards a lay audience in the coming few years. Let's revisit the issue in 2011.
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful By B. J. Barnett on October 28, 2008
Format: Hardcover
My Wife and I were Lucky enough to eat at El Bulli in September of 2007. Actually, I was the lucky one and she was gracious enough to let me drag her to the other side of the planet for a very strange, (but spectacular) dinner.

I just found out that this book existed. Firstly, it does not even pretend to be a "cook book". If that's what was expected then one should have bought the actual cook books, (published chronologically), from El Bulli directly. This book is a pictorial love letter. To me, even though I had absolutely nothing to do with the books production, it feels personal.

My own photo album mimics much of what is seen here. It's simply the real deal. A lot is made of Ferran and his restaurant. I understand why but what gets lost in all of the global hype is the simple fact that you are eating dinner at someone's house. It's small. There is no menu. No Pretense, and Ferran is actually there. Also,everybody else is just plain friendly.

It's food, not Worship. Fun...not analysis. Frankly, I've had better food in my life. However, I've never had a "Greater" dining experience. Once I received the reservation, we had to wait a full year. Here it is more than a year after and I still think about the experience all the time. What other Restaurant can give you that?

Ferran could charge 5 times what he does and still be full every night but he doesn't. That says something to me. He is laser focused on his own personal vision and when you go there you are merely a participant along for the ride...and what a crazy ride it is. Anyway, back to the book.

There is no way that this book is relevant to most casual observers. If I hadn't eaten there, i doubt even I would be interested to own it.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Myers on October 7, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Amazing insight into the world of Ferran Adria at elBulli. This new book covers a single day in chronological order and spanning 600 pages. Readers should not expect an extensive narrative or cookbook format from this volume; however, for those interested in gleaning a window into an exotic world, this new work is hard to beat, especially at this price. Beautiful photographs fill nearly every page and feature the esoteric (sand on the Spanish sea shore), operational details (menu and plating preparation worksheets), and of course, the amazing food. A Day at elBulli clearly illustrates the genius and passion of Mr. Adria and offers a small glimpse at this world renowned restaurant for those of us not fortunate enough to dine there in person. Simply amazing!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Laura Ellis on October 31, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Getting a reservation at El Bulli is like winning the lottery. Only 8000 guests are served per year, with over 2 million requests. This book is probably the closest I will get to the restaurant (though I WILL try!)

This is more of a picture book, not a cook book (though there are some recipes in it). The artistry of Ferran Adria is showcased, but more important to me was the organization that goes into the daily routine. I was fascinated by the extensive use of lists, some of which are included in the book.

Molecular gastronomy is not something the home cook will usually be trying (but I'm working on it!). The book inspired me to work in my kitchen, but also gave me some ideas to incorporate into my daily life, organizing my day better. Restauranteurs throughout the world will be reading this, but I would encourage everyone to look at it, and read the text discussing the artistry. Well done, Chef Adria!!!
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23 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Aceto TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 2, 2009
Format: Hardcover
If you win the reservations lottery for elBulli, you might want to buy this as a souvenir. It is hard for me to imagine why a chef as successful as Senor Adria would need an homage to himself. Most let their offerings speak for themselves. This monstrous pile of paper has few words, but they are all bloated and fatuous. "Adria is the most innovative chef working in the world today." That may be true on any given day out of six months, but I suspect somewhere an un-Adria meal might be choked down without killing the diner with banality. It gets worse quickly: "A good dinner is inseparable from good scenography." Such blather is more than wrong; it is wrong-headed. But absurdity just around the bend. A heading of banal photographs reads "Adria's Secret Laboratory". And how could we do without all those childhood snaps of the young Einstein.

The organization of the book is simple. Each page is time-stamped, 24 hour format to be sure -- none of this a.m., p.m. nonsense. "A 11:00 hours the creative sessions begin! It is not what you look for that matters, it is what you find!" The very scales fall from mine eyes! Kant kneels.

Many of the hundreds of photos of the maestro's puss are close enough to count the pores on his nose and the hairs within.

Breaking news on page 73: "Knowledge is essential for judging the products". My life in a ditch. All my failures illustrated in a hairy wrist.

14:30 hours THE TEAM ARRIVES! Eighteen photos of them sniffing their fingers. 15:10 hours "Ferran does not do mise en place himself (that would be wasting sacred time, like Christ washing feet. I should have named this review 'Christ stopped at elBulli' but I could not bring myself to do that to Primo Levi) but continues creative.
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