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on 4 April 2011
This book, thoroughly well written in fluent and accessible language that unobtrusively explains the jargon it necessarily refers to, is an essential companion to the multitude of books which have been published about el Bulli and its food. There's only one recipe in the book, included to illustrate the restaurant's pedantic approach to food preparation rather than for its intrinsic interest. But anyone who's interested in the cultural phenomenon of the Adria brothers and their circle will find this gentle but penetrating study of the personalities involved, and way they behave towards their staff, absolutely fascinating. The story is told, for the most part, from the point of view of the humblest members of the kitchen 'brigade', and is all the better for its 'worm's eye view' of its subject. There are moments when the book's carefully organised scheme, alternating between an account of the restaurant's work and the personal lives of its inhabitants, feels a little too controlled - but perhaps that's no surprise when the subject is so often the control, and the consequent tedium, which is required to maintain el Bulli's standards. Lisa Abend studiously avoids making judgements, whether about the people or the food she's writing about, but in doing so she cleverly succeeds in drawing attention to the need for those judgements. Should people be treated like this, no matter how good the outcome of their labour? Should these edible fancies be called 'food', rather than entertainment? If you're interested in this kind of 'culinary art', whether pro or con, you'll enjoy The Sorcerer's Apprentices and find that it makes an excellent contribution to the debate about 'modern' cooking.
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on 7 August 2011
Enjoyed the book. It gives a great insight into the lives and day to day work of apprentices at El Bulli. You learn about the apprentices, their motivations, frustrations and achievements. You learn about their daily chores and what it is like to work there.

Implicitly, you also learn about the restaurant and the energy everyone puts into the dishes every night. Other reviews have stated that there is too much detail in the book. I find the details probably reflects Ferran extreme attention to detail and that the apprentices need to grasp that when they repeat the dishes again and again. The downside is that the book does not flow that easily.

I would have preferred a different take on the story though. By taking the apprentices perspective you only learn so much and their insights are sometimes limited. The book therefore only gives you a partial, though interesting view. Would have preferred focusing on how Ferran has succeeded in creating the worlds most innovative restaurant - what it takes, how does he create a creative environment, sourcing of exotic ingredients etc. In many ways the book leaves many of these interesting questions unanswered. To be fair though, the cover says that the book is about the apprentices.

Although I would have liked it to give me a broader insight into the restaurant, I highly recommend it for the apprentices perspective.
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on 5 March 2012
I bought this for my husband, who has a professional interest and is a big fan of Ferra's, and he highly recommends this book. As a "common reader", I have to say the book is extremely well written, the portraits (written and photographic) are lovely and interesting and bring you into the kitchen of the ElBulli phenomenon. Highly recommended if you have an interest in the restaurant world and the developments, this is a snapshot of a season, the actors and patrons of a restaurant that has left its mark on the food world. I will be looking forward to more from Ms Abend!
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on 2 May 2011
Im a huge follower of 'modern cooking' and I found this book a terrific insight into the workings of El Bulli. I won't spoil it for anyone but it gives terrific understanding of Adria's thinking and his kitchen structure. I was also fascinated by the outlooks from the stagiers.
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on 1 June 2014
A good read particularly if you are the industry. A good insight into the inner workings of a three star restaurant. But the author does assume the reader knows Spanish by including Spanish words without there meaning in the middle of sentences. Overall enjoyable.
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on 11 January 2015
I chose five stars because it deserves them also an insight into what makes a unique restaraunt unique or how it ticks
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on 4 January 2015
I have no more to add, just read it as you will thoroughly enjoy the experience of reading such an insightful book.
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on 12 March 2013
This is a great item and I would most certainly recommend it to others.
It is worth every penny paid for it.
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on 25 July 2014
Great! Thank you!
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on 18 December 2014
returned ordered wrong book
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