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El Bulli: 1998-2002 Hardcover – Aug 2005

5 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Ecco; Slp edition (Aug. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060817577
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060817572
  • Product Dimensions: 33.9 x 25 x 6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,802,901 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
"El Bulli" is the most cutting-edge example of the small but high-profile segment of the cookbook business: restaurant cookbooks that are more about the state of the chef's art than they are about actual cooking.
It may also be the most influential. Adria is one of the most talked about and controversial chefs in modern cooking. El Bulli is only a tiny restaurant hidden away in a remote corner of Spain's rocky Costa Brava, but for the last five years it has been the shrine at the end of many a foodie's holiday pilgrimage.
Adria is revered not so much for the deliciousness of his dishes, but because of his inventive, mold-breaking techniques, which seem to fly almost instantly from his mind into high-end restaurant kitchens around the world. He creates gels that hold their shape even when hot. He makes ice creams from polenta and lollipops flavored with black truffles and asparagus. This is the guy who invented foams.
The book is similarly experimental. Rather than the traditional assemblage of recipes and color pictures of finished dishes, arranged in the order of courses, "El Bulli" is vivid and impressionistic. It can be appreciated just for its physical beauty, but spend some time with it and you'll find yourself pulled in on a deeper, more intellectual, level. In a way, this is a book not about cooking, but about an extreme form of creativity.
There are pictures -- gorgeously photographed too -- but they are as likely to be of the process as of the plates and they may take some getting used to. Indeed, even the finished dishes sometimes don't look like food so much as some kind of bizarre manufactured product or maybe one of those sea creatures only found hovering around ocean steam vents 20 miles deep.
Nowhere in the 700-page book will you find a recipe.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x94e29ca8) out of 5 stars 13 reviews
56 of 60 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9215e378) out of 5 stars The Future of Food 23 April 2004
By Ron - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I thought I knew who the good and great chefs of the world were. I read an article about Ferran Adria in February and I thought to myself, "How did I miss this guy?"
The food is beautiful, unusual, curious, unique, and definately showing what food can be. I'm an aspiring chef, and I've never been more impressed with a book in all my life. I have 75 cookbooks, this is the one I would keep if I had to have only one. Forget Escoffier, forget Larousse, this is the direction I want to see food go. Foams, hot jellies, using gellied consumme as pasta dough, hot maynoaise, candied olive oil... the list goes on.
The recipies are not meant to be for the home cook, but anyone interested in new techniques, this book explains it all. Most of the food isn't very appealing for the Western pallate. This book, for me at least, is a wealth of information about cooking rather than recipie replication. He's very detailed in his explainations, and the book is organized very, very, very well.
Ferran Adria is more interested in making new things with foodstuffs than making a million dollars. I think Adria is the most creative and interesting chef working today, he's constantly creating new ways to eat food. Looking through this book is like having a glimpse into the future when it comes to cooking. Joel Robuchon says he's the best chef in the world. Paul Bocuse says he's the most exciting chef today. Those are some powerful words coming from some of the best chefs to have ever worn a toque. What's even more impressive is that they still say he's the best after he's claimed that the French are all washed up and don't know how to cook anymore.
Get this book, it's the start of something big.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x92181288) out of 5 stars El Bulli 2 Sept. 2011
By bm5bullit - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If cooking, dining, eating, food as an art form, etc., is part of you life, then this publication has no current equal. It is the expression of food as an art form at its highest level. My next goal would be to go to Spain and experience this myself. It is obvious; the tremendous amount of work and dedication this was to put together.
HASH(0x92ceced0) out of 5 stars Disappointing - more photography than content 29 Jan. 2015
By J. Jonak - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
While a beautiful book and very fun to look through on a coffee table, I found this to be disappointing as a learning book. Ferran has such a fascinating history and way of working with food - but it's neither explored nor explained in this.

A reference CD is included where you can find videos, written information and recipes. But requiring the reader to use this book alongside a computer takes away the joy of seeing a dish and then understanding the thought process and creation behind it.

In comparison, Alinea and The Big Fat Duck offer the same visual candy but with immediately available recipes; even better, Heston's shares the stories behind each dish and its evolution.

With the potential to really get to know Ferran, I feel this book did not succeed in much beyond being a visual guide to each annual menu. It's less a tribute to the chef and the restaurant, as a photography book of food.

Once you do explore the recipes, they are not easy for even an experienced home chef. Some perhaps, but most will require ingredients and equipment that are a small fortune. I appreciate that the recipes are not altered for an at home chef; but if you purchase this with the expectation to recreate a meal - think again.

Depending on what you want out of it, you may love it or be disappointed.
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x92af3d2c) out of 5 stars El Bulli- I have changed my mind 19 Sept. 2005
By CHEF DL - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I would like to thank the constructive comments offered to my first review. They sparked my desire to learn more about Chef Ferran. I have changed my view and I do recognize the genius this chef posseses. I would just try to remind all that we are entitled to an opinion and the need to get nasty with your responses does take away from the opportunity to share what you have learned and felt about this chef. It is possible to try to share constructive ideas here and not bash someone for a different opinion.


Chef DL
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x92509cf0) out of 5 stars Being different made the differences. 24 Aug. 2007
By R. J. Hollands - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I have read a number of reviews and some have focussed on what was said by Chef DL. All Chefs have different views and those of us wearing the white jacket should respect the views of our peers even though we may disagree with their individual opinion. Lets focus on the brillances of the book. The book is a tribute to the talent Ferran Adria has and his gift of sharing his ideas through his books. Unique and his ideas add a different perspective to cooking and presentation.Great to pick up and look at the result of a man who deared to be different and succeeded.
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